By Innocent Orok
In its drive to curb smuggling within its areas of jurisdiction, the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ’C’ has intercepted cannabis sativa, raw materials for production of explosive devices, as well as other contrabands with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,648,494,571.
The Unit also arrested nine suspects in connection with the seizures within the period under review ( July 25 to September 23rd 2023).
According to a statement issued by the Unit’s Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Customs, Jerry Attah said the Acting Comptroller, FOU, C, Deputy Comptroller Kayode Kolade said this while addressing newsmen at the Government Warehouse, Aduwawa, Benin City, Edo state, on Monday.
Kolade, who frowned at the spate of smuggling in the Zone, however said that he successfully recovered the sum of N54,244,571 only from “Demand Notices” raised based on some infractions noticed, making a cumulative sum of N1,634,794,571 within the months under review.
In addition to the 417 sacks of cannabis sativa also known as Indian Hemp weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of same Indian hemp 1kg each totaling 627kg, and nine sacks 50kg each of explosives’ raw materials.
The other seized products include 1,329 bags of 50kg each of smuggled foreign parboiled rice , five cartons of DSP Cough Syrup with codeine 100mg containing 1000 bottles , one unit of Armored Bullion Van, 761 jumbo bales of second hand clothing, 883 cartons of various unregistered/expired medicaments including tramadol, 100 cartons of various wines, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres, 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste, 300 cartons of foreign spaghetti.
On how the seizures were made, DC Kolade said ” Based on prompt intelligence and sting operation, the rice was intercepted along Calabar/Akwa Ibom axis and Okada/Benin expressway.
The 417 sacks and 627 parcels of Indian hemp were intercepted at Okada-Benin and Ewu-Auchi Expressway respectively. 761 Jumbo bales of used clothing mostly concealed in trucks and buses were intercepted along Umeikaa/Aba Road and Okada-Benin road.
“ The five cartons of DSP cough syrup with codeine, and 883 cartons of unregistered medicaments were intercepted along Benin/Asaba/Onitsha Expressway.The armored Bullion Van without customs documents and End User Certificate was intercepted along Okada/Benin Expressway. 100 cartons of wine and 335 tomatoes paste were intercepted along Ewu/Ibilo axis, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres were also intercepted along Cross River waterside and Okada-Benin Expressway,” he said.
DC Kolade further expressed worry over the smuggling of explosives even as the country continued grappling with the challenges associated with insecurity and called on smugglers to desist forth with in the interest of humanity or have the law to contend with.
“ More worrisome is the interception of 9 sacks 50kg each of explosive materials (fertilizer , device cables and superpower90 chemicals). We all know the security implication if these explosives components get to their destination unchecked. It may interest you to know that Superpower 90 is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting.
The high detonation velocity and the robust nature of Superpower 90 make it an ideal primer for the initiation of column charge. Lets us not just imagine if dynamites and landmines are detonated using these items “, he said.
He seized the opportunity to congratulate the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi MFR on his appointment to oversee the affairs of the Service describing his appointment as well deserved considering his pedigree, dedication and commitment to the Service.
“ We will all make sure he succeeds as his leadership style has started yielding positive results in our operations. I thank the Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi MFR, and the entire Management team of the Nigeria Customs Service for their efforts so far in providing needed incentives and necessary logistics that aided our performance. To my dear colleagues, Customs Intelligence Unit, Customs Police, I must commend your prompt intelligence sharing, resilience and tenacity that brought about this strides “, he added.
He called on journalists to join the Nigeria Customs Service in the advocacy campaign against the hazards of smuggling to the nation’s economy, and to all well-meaning Nigerians to support the service with necessary intelligence and information that could assist the Service nip in the bud smuggling in the interest of our fatherland.
The Comptroller however warned all economic saboteurs who plan to use the ember period for their nefarious acts to have a rethink as the Service will make sure they count their losses adding that “no amount of distraction will stop us from carrying out our statutory responsibilities not even in the face of attacks we encountered this month by some sponsored elements”.