Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Thirty-five persons suspected to be smugglers have been arrested by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Oyo/Osun command.
The command’s Area Comptroller, Mr. Abdullahi Zulkifli, disclosed this at a press briefing held at the headquarters of the command, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State on Wednesday.
According to him, 30 among the persons arrested in connection with smuggling have been granted administrative bail, while the remaining five suspects have been charged to court.
Zulkifli, who noted that the command generated N23,878,395,911.8kobo from January to July 2019, particularly said the command in the second quarter of this year seized goods that included 3,252 bags of imported parboiled rice of 50kilogrammes each, 319 kegs of vegetable oil of 25 litres each, 36 bales of second-hand clothing, 61 pieces of used tyres, four cars, and 38 means of conveyance with a total duty paid value of N105,097,529.
He stated further that the command recorded 7,951 seizures from January to July 2019, comprising vehicles, foreign parboiled rice, vegetable oil, second-hand clothing, used tyres, sugar and textile materials with cumulative duty paid value of N210,826,503.66kobo.
Zulkifli noted that the command recorded a giant stride in its anti-smuggling operations with the commissioning of an outpost of the command at Kishi, the headquarters of Irepo Local Government Area of Oyo State, on July 30, this year. He noted that Kishi community has long been perceived to engage in smuggling with impunity because of their hostility to officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.
“The outpost was commissioned in the wake of a courtesy call on the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, on July 17, 2019, where the comptroller appealed to the governor to prevail on Kishi people to refrain from their perceived activities and eschew the avowed hostility to Nigeria Customs Service so as to save themselves from the long arm of the law.
“We will continue to dialogue, engage and educate the local and business communities on the security and economic implications of smuggling, while carrying out the statutory functions of enforcing compliance with the government fiscal policy,” he said.
Zulkifli, however, appreciated Governor Makinde for “admonishing Kishi people on the repercussions of making their community inaccessible to officers of the service through age-old hostility. I also appreciate the resultant efforts made by the leadership and people of the community to foster a healthy rapport with officers of the service in the course of discharging, facilitating trade and making the business environment congenial for men and women in legitimate business.
“The echoing achievements of the command are attributable to the commitments of the officers and men of the command and support from other units of the service, such as the Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) and the CGC’s Strike Force, and the synergy between the command and other security agencies.”