The Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘B’, Nigeria Customs Service, Mustafa Sarkin-Kebbi has disclosed that desperate smugglers allegedly hired bandits and kidnappers who attacked, killed and injured his men on duty within the last six months.
The Customs Boss who made the disclosure while briefing newsmen in Kaduna on the seizures made during the period under review, however, said the successes recorded came with challenges which included attack on the personnel of the zone by bandits and kidnappers allegedly engaged by the smugglers for them to have their way easily.
He said one of his personnel was shot dead, and four others injured while exchanging fire with the bandits in the zone.
He commended the synergy with sister agencies, especially the Nigerian Army which lead to unconditional release of two (2) kidnapped Customs personnel at Batsari area of Katsina State.
“One officer in the line of duty was shot dead by bandits and 4 others recorded various degree of injury in the course of operations while Eighteen (18) defendants have been arrested in connection with the aforementioned seizures and are being prosecuted accordingly”. He said.
He called on the public to assist them with relevant information that will help to checkmate the activities of the smugglers who are causing economic sabotage to the government.
Meanwhile, Comptroller Sarkin-Kebbi gave a breakdown of the various seizures made within the period under review, pointing out that it has made 645 seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,668,014,050.00 from January – June 2020 as against 425 seizures with DPV of N762,051,950.00 recorded within same period in 2019.
“Seized items from January – June 2020 include 157 vehicles,6,340 (50kg) bags of foreign parboiled rice, 2,276 kegs of vegetable oil, 2,352 cartons of spaghetti/macaroni, 162 bags of foreign sugar, 1,324 cartons of soap, 1,713 bales of textile materials, 14 cartons of mosquitoes coil, 394 cartons of various pharmaceuticals, 298 cartons of tomatoes paste, 270 pieces of used tyres 1,167 bags of NPK fertilizers, 291 kegs of PMS, 484 parcels of India hemp”.
In the same vein, he said the revenue collected from smuggled vehicles from Jan-Mar 2020 amounted to N2,030,455,802.00 (Two billion, Thirty million, Four hundred and fifty-five thousand, Eight hundred and two naira).
According to the Customs FOU zone ‘B’ boss, from January -June 2019, the total number of seizure is 424 which include 153 vehicle, 6,618 bags of parboiled foreign rice,
820 cartons of spaghetti, 167 bags of sugar, 856 kegs of vegetable oil
secondhand clothing = 147 bales of second hand clothing, 634 pieces of used tyres, 1,680 cartons of medicament with DPV of N762,051,950.