Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
The Joint Border Drill Operations at Sector 3 of the North Central Zone, says that it has uncovered new antics being employed by the smugglers to conceal prohibited items being smuggled into the country.
Among the new antics uncovered by the joint border drill operations included using of tipper with sharp sand to conceal 140 bags of foreign rice, 260 tubers of yam to conceal bags of rice as well as using of Keke NAPEP to smuggle 10 bags of rice.
The operations also intercepted and seized a government vehicle with the plate number of Osun State Government to smuggle bags of rice.
The Coordinator, Joint Border Drill Operations, North Central Zone, Sector 3, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, disclosed this in Ilorin on yesterday at a press briefing on activities of the team which cover Kwara, Kogi, Niger and Benue states.
He said that the joint operations had seized contraband goods, worth N1.2 billion and arrested 53 suspects between May and June 2020.
Compt Garba noted that the sector during the period under review recorded 225 seizures with no fewer than 53 suspected smugglers arrested through tracing of number plates and waybill.
According to him, ‘one of the most exceptional seizures of interception of a Tipper with Reg. No. ZAR 803 XA carefully concealed one hundred and forty (140) bags of foreign rice in sharp sand which you’ve all seen in the course of taking you round of the seized goods. It is disturbing that some die-hard smugglers have also resorted to using Keke NAPEP to smuggle rice.’
Other seizures recorded according to Mohammed include 17,490 bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 29 trailers of 600) bags each, 310 kegs of vegetable oil, 1 locally made pistol with a live cartridge, 944 Drums of AGO and 3,676 jerry cans of petroleum product of 25 litres each.
‘The rest are 355 bundles of textile materials, 28 bags of foreign fertilizer, 66 cartons of different brand of beers, 67 units of vehicles, 78 motorcycles and one Keke NAPEP, 15 sacks of used shoes and 360 tubers of yam, all valued at N1,207,223,380.
‘It will be recalled that late last month, the Patrol team covering Babanna axis of the Sector in Niger State, intercepted two Mitsubishi Canter with Reg. No XA-241-WEL and XC-166-SUL respectively laden with 54 drums of smuggled petrol with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) 1.9 million with two suspects.’
Compt Garba said that the sector had stepped up extra measures to combat the influx of foreign rice and other prohibited into the country.
The move, according to him, is to ensure that citizens and economy are protected for national development.
Compt Garba emphasised that the sector would not retreat on the fight against smuggling in whatever disguise or camouflage, calling on the general public to assist the service with useful information on smuggling activities within their communities.
‘Finally, the sector has intensified efforts in the execution of the ongoing war against smuggling. Proven new strategies in line with world best practices in suppressing smuggling were utilised and the magnanimous support by the management and Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hammed Ali (retd), has enabled the sector to achieve great results.’