One month after the Federal Government re-opened the land borders for economic activities, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, said it intercepted smuggled foreign parboiled rice, used vehicles, textiles materials as well as Indian hemp worth over N30 billion smuggled into the country from Benin Republic.
Speaking to journalists yesterday, the acting Customs Area Controller, FOU, Zone A, acting Comptroller Usman Yahaya, said the contraband were intercepted between January 1, 2021 and now.
The CAC, who said he arrested 44 suspected smugglers, advised economic saboteurs await hard times.
His words: “We arrested 44 suspects in connection with the seizures but as a Unit, we will continue to re-strategise to ensure that smugglers don’t have a hiding place. Instead of incurring losses, I will advise smugglers to embrace legitimate business and become responsible citizens.”
However, insider sources have revealed that the seized items came in through the porus border points manned by Seme, Idiroko and Oyo/Osun command of the Nigeria Customs Service.
According to him, also intercepted were fake and unregistered pharmaceuticals valuing N51million along Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, as well as Indian hemp smuggled from Ghana to Iseyin in Oyo State.
He said: “After the opening of Seme border by the Federal Government, the smugglers thought they could cash on it to perpetrate their evil act, but the unit left them with heavy losses as evidenced in the seizures.”
Giving account, he said a total of 142,677 seizures of different items were intercepted even as he vow never to relent in making the environment unfavourable for smugglers.
“A quick glance at the period under review, the Unit intercepted and seized a total of 142,677 seizures of different items. 41,652 bags of 50kg smuggled parboiled rice from Idiroko, Ipokia, Imeko, Iseyin, Igbo-Ora and Seme; 1,356 bags of 25kg smuggled parboiled rice; 4,529kg of Indian hemp smuggled from Ghana to Iseyin in Oyo State worth N710 millio.
“Others are 66 packs of Tramadol and other unregistered pharmaceuticals products; 5,849 cartons of fake drugs; 266 units of means of conveyance and 218 used vehicles,” he said.
Also intercepted according to the ag. CAC are, 1,660 bales of textiles materials; 2,152 kegs of 25kg vegetable oil falsely declared at the other at the seaport of Apapa and Tin-Can Island port and 6,985 cartons of frozen poultry products, and 985 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were seized.