Nine trailers of parboiled rice, 5,459 bags of 50kg of foreign bags of rice (equivalent to nine trailer loads), amongst other prohibited items valued at over N872 million were intercepted by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in one month.
Speaking to Newsmen, comptroller of the unit, Mr. Hussaine Ejibunu, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs, said that there has been an increase in the smuggling of foreign rice, which he attributed to the yuletide season.
Ejibunu also said that the seizures reflect the commitment of officers to discharge their duties, protect the nation’s economy, and prevent the importation of prohibited and harmful products from entering our domestic markets.
He stated: “Ingenious concealment is an activity that plays a significant role in smuggling operations. It allows smugglers to hide illicit goods from detection by concerned authorities.
“It is important to note that smuggling is illegal and a crime that has negative social, economic, and security implications. It is our resolve to continuously work hard to improve detection methods with the aid of intelligence.
“The strategic deployment of officers with intelligence-driven anti-smuggling operations led to the arrest of a Toyota Highlander and the ingenious concealment of suspected bags of foreign parboiled rice at Iju-Ojuore, Ogun State.
“These seizures reflect our commitment to the discharge of our functions, aimed at protecting the nation’s economy and preventing the importation of prohibited and harmful products from entering our domestic markets.
“Other goods that were seized within November include 5,459 bags of 50kg of foreign bags of rice and 18,100 litres of premium motor spirit. 376 bales of used clothes 1,926 cartons of frozen poultry products 337 pieces of used compressors and 3 x 40-foot containers were found to contain 3,838 pieces of used tyres. 13 used vehicles (Tokunbo) and 396 cartons of frozen fish
The total duty-paid value of the seized goods stood at N872,575 million. A total of 11 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the suspects.
“On revenue, the sum of N71,254,984.71 was generated through conscious and thorough documentary checks, followed by the issuance of demand notices on consignments that were found to have paid lesser amounts than the appropriate customs duty.
“Smuggling operations that employ ingenious concealment methods can have a chance of successfully trafficking illegal goods across borders or checkpoints without being noticed. This calls for the collaborative efforts of all citizens to support the service by providing useful and timely information that would aid the anti-smuggling drive.”
The FOU boss also warned warehouse owners to desist from keeping prohibited goods in their facilities as they could be culpable at the end of its investigation.