By Adeniyi Adedeji, Ilorin
The Joint Border Drill Operations of the Nigerian Customs Service in the North Central geo-political zone has impounded contrabands worth over N1.2 billion.
The haul was made between the months of May and July, 2020, in Kwara, Kogi, Niger and Benue states that made up the zone.
Also, 53 arrested suspects in connection with the seizure would soon face prosecutions in court after investigation were concluded, according to the North Central NCS Coordinator, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba.
Speaking at a press briefing in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, Gatba said, “Within the period under review, a patrol team comprising Nigeria Customs’ officers, Nigeria Army, Nigeria Immigration Service, the Department of State Services, DSS, Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies raided two warehouses at Abayawo and Ita-Merin areas of Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State, suspected to be stockpiled with foreign parboiled rice.”
He said the two stores were raided and a total number of 450 and 224 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg respectively were discovered to be smuggled into the state.
He added, “Late last month, the patrol team covering Babanna axis of the sector in Niger State, intercepted two Mitsubishi Canter with registration number XA-241-WEL and XC-166-SUL respectively, laden with 54 drums of smuggled petrol with a duty paid value, DPV, of N1.9 million two suspects.
“The most exceptional seizure was the interception of a Tipper with registration number ZAR 803 XA, which carefully concealed 140 bags of foreign rice under sharp sand.”
Lamenting that it was disturbing that some die-hard smugglers had also resorted to using ‘Keke NAPEP’ to smuggle rice, Comptroller Garba stressed that “the sector wishes to reiterate its stand that there is no retreat on the fight against smuggling in whatever disguise or camouflage.”
He revealed that the seizures within the period under review included 17,490 bags of foreign parboiled rice, which is equivalent of 29 trailers of 600 bags each; 310 kegs of vegetable oil; one locally made pistol with a live cartridge; 944 drums of AGO and 3,676 25-litre jerry cans of petroleum products.
Others were 355 bundles of textile materials; 28 bags of foreign fertilizer; 66 cartons of different brands of beer; 67 units of vehicles; 78 motor cycles and one Keke Napep; 15 sacks of used shoes and 360 tubers of yam, all seized goods with a value of N1,207,223,380.
Garba also pleaded with journalists and the general public within the zone to assist the NCS with useful information that would assist in curbing smuggling activities.