Customs nabs 44 suspects, intercepts cars, others worth N30bn

The Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service has arrested 44 smugglers and intercepted smuggled foreign rice, used cars, textiles and Indian hemp worth over N30bn.

The items were reportedly smuggled into the country through Seme and Idiroko borders from the Benin Republic, few weeks after the Federal Government announced the partial re-opening of the land borders.

Speaking to newsmen on Monday in Ikeja, the acting Customs Area Controller, FOU, Zone A, Usman Yahaya, said the contrabands were intercepted from January 1, 2021 to date.

According to the acting CAC, also intercepted were fake and unregistered pharmaceuticals worth N51m along Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, as well as Indian hemp smuggled from Ghana to Iseyin in Oyo State.

“After the re-opening of Seme border by the Federal Government, the smugglers thought they could cash in on the re-opening to perpetrate their evil acts, but the unit left them with heavy losses as evidenced in this seizures,” he stated.

According to him, 142,677 seizures of different items were intercepted, even as he vowed not to relent in making the environment uncomfortable for smugglers.

His words, “A quick glance at the period under review, the unit intercepted and made 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 N710m.

“Others are 66 packs of Tramadol and other unregistered pharmaceutical products; 5,849 cartons of fake drugs; 266 units of means of conveyance and 218 used vehicles.”

Also intercepted according to him, 1,660 bales of textiles, 2,152 kegs of 25kg vegetable oil falsely declared at Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports, 6,985 cartons of frozen poultry products, and 985 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit.

“We arrested 44 suspects in connection with these 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 more responsible citizens,” he said.

Anozie Egole
Anozie Egole
Anozie Egole is a Transport correspondent. He reports Maritime, Aviation and Rail/Road Transport for Financial Street.

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