The Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun I Command has made seizures of various contrabands to the tune of N172,999,387.00 within the period of October 18th and November 23rd.
The Customs Area Controller in charge of the command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, while briefing news men on the seizures in Abeokuta disclosed that 7311 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice was seized along side other contraband and is equivalent to 12 trailer loads which translates to 365, 550 kg or 365.55 metric tons.
He hinted that if this quantity of rice is allowed into the Nigerian market will affect the federal government rice policy negatively.
It could be recalled that a rice cooperative farm in Ogun State (specifically at Imeko Afon) with the active support of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Government and World Bank just last week harvested 2600 metric tons of paddy rice.
This he said is a major win for the Command as the service celebrate these farmers who are testimonies and justification of the anti-smuggling effort in support of local rice productions in the country.
In the are of revenue collection, the command also generated a total revenue of N2,437,050.00 during the period under review, which are mainly proceeds of auction sales of seized petroleum products (PMS) and scrap metals, due to the closure of the border and lack of import activities.
Other seizures recorded during the period under review include: 12 kegs of 25 liters of vegetable oil, 20 units of used vehicles as means of conveyance, two used motorcycles as means of conveyance, four bales of 25kg each and sacks, 26 sacks of used shoes, 124 sacks of booksize and 165 coconut-size cannabis sativa, 831 kegs of 25 liters of PMS, four sacks of used toys and 810 cartons of frozen poultry products.
The command boss disclosed that two arrests were made in connection with the intercepted cannabis, but both have been released on bail.
He however appreciate the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ibrahim Ali and the Management for providing 10 brand new Toyota Hilux vehicles to the Command, which will enhance its anti-smuggling operations.
“It is a demonstration of Management support and encouragement to Ogun 1 Command. It is proof of Management commitment to quality service delivery to the nation. This gesture will no doubt enhance our operation and improve our performance part of which we will share with you as we progress.
“We are deploying massive intelligence and are also deploying rules of engagement in all our operations. This has yielded greater successes being recorded on daily basis without casualties”.Nnadi said.
He disclosed that engagement has been extended to include continuous interactions with critical stakeholders in the Command.
“To this end, we have been engaging the youths who form the bulk of the human capacity asset in Ogun State particularly at the border areas. We have also been engaging the elders of the communities who in all honesty have a good knowledge and understanding of the challenges of enforcing government policy in the border especially as the borders remain closed.
“We have also been engaging with royal fathers of the state and has appealed to them to warn their subjects to desist from smuggling and attacks on Customs personnel. Let me use this medium to thank them for accepting to continuously help in this direction. We are also reaching out to the state governor who is the chief security officer of the state in this direction and the future looks mutually very rewarding for Nigeria Customs Service and the state”.
The CAC warned smugglers and criminal elements in the state that the Command shall definitely uncover every illegal act of theirs, make arrest and inflict gross financial injury on such ventures and their perpetuators.
He noted that the continuous attacks on Customs and other security operatives in the state by unpatriotic people will not deter it from sustaining the onslaught on their smuggling activities.
“We are determined more than ever before to carry out our anti- smuggling operations without let or hindrance”, he quipped.
He also thanked critical stakeholders, members of the press, partner security agencies and traditional rulers/royal fathers for their continuous collaborative efforts and synergy with the Service while carrying out its statutory mandate in the state