From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Controller, Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area 1 Command, Peter Kolo, has raised the alarm over ploys by smugglers to instigate students of higher institutions to embark on a campaign of calumny against operatives of the command.
According to Kolo, smugglers who can no longer have their ways have enlisted the help of some group of students to blackmail men and officers of the command, to discourage them from their resolve to battle smuggling in the country.
The Area Controller, who raised the alarm on Thursday, while briefing reporters at Idiroko Border Post, on the activities of the Command for the month of August, declared that the recent allegation by some students that arm and ammunitions were being imported through the land borders in the state, was a calculated attempt to portray the NCS in a bad light.
Kolo called the attention of the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, members of the National and State Assemblies from Ogun, traditional rulers, authorities of tertiary institutions and other respected opinion leaders in the state to what he described as “emerging security threat”.
He stressed that no amount of campaign of calumny and blackmail against customs by these groups and their sponsors will dampen the morale of men and officers of the command in their fight against enemies of the state.
‘We are not distracted but remain resolute and focussed on our anti-smuggling operations in the state.
‘I commend the courage and gallantry of all officers in Ogun 1 Command in the face of sustained intimidation and unwarranted attacks by desperate dare-devil smugglers in the state. I urge you to continue to maintain this high level of professionalism in carrying out your statutory duties,’ Kolo stated.
On the anti-smuggling operations of the command during the month of August, the Area Controller said 4,138 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each; 830 cartons of frozen poultry products; 15 units of both foreign used vehicles and means of conveyance; 6 sacks of cannabis sativa and other illicit drugs; 6 bales and 15 sacks of used/secondhand clothing; 6 sacks and 90 pieces of used handbags; 16 sacks and 34 pairs of used shoes; 592 kegs of petroleum products of 25ltrs, with the Duty Paid Value of N72,589,473m, were seized in the month under review.
On revenue generation, Kolo explained that borders in the state are still closed to customs operations, submitting a total of N1,997,500 was generated through the auction of seized petroleum products and scrap metals in August.