The Federal Government has set up a committee to investigate the regular usage and arrest of Nigerian Breweries lorries conveying prohibited items into the country.
Two months ago, a lorry belonging to the Company was arrested with over 270 bags of foreign rice concealed among some empty crates of it alcoholic beverage products. Even this month, another 170 bags of rice were concealed in Nigerian Breweries lorry thus prompting the Federal Government to initiate an investigation to unravel out the extent of the company’s involvement in the crime.
Speaking to newsmen in Lagos, Customs Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Ikeja, Mohammed Uba, said a high-powered investigation has been set up to probe the consistent involvement of the firm’s lorries in transportation and importation of prohibited items.
He, however, said that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is collaborating with Nigerian Breweries management to find out the root cause of the problem.
“You cannot do an investigation without listening to the other party. What type of investigation are you doing?” he asked.
Meanwhile, about 30 exotic vehicles including seven Toyota Hilux (2018 models), three Toyota Prado Jeep (2017), one Range Rover, one Ford Edge (2015), 5,516 bags of foreign parboiled rice (nine trailers), 1,078 cartons of frozen poultry products, 216 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 173 bales of used clothing, 683 pieces of used tyres, eight sacks of Indian hemp weighing 134kg, among others have been seized by the Command. A total of 14 suspects, he said, were arrested in connection with these 125 seizures.
Uba said that between April 10 and May 15, 2018, his unit intercepted various contraband and other goods on detention with a duty paid value of N1,010,295,666.2. It also recovered N28,860,788 from underpayments making a cumulative of N1,039,156,454.
Already, President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered that some court-condemned items be taken to Borno State government for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“After court processes and condemnation, the Presidential Committee on IDPs chaired by the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hammed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), approved the evacuation of the following items to the Borno State government for distribution to IDPs through the Nigeria Army Corps of Supply and Transport (NACST).
According to him a total of 25,318 bags of 50kg rice (42 trailers), 3,366 jerry cans of 25 litres, 175 gallons of vegetable oil (5 litres), 1,564 bales and 122 sacks of second hand clothing, 196 sacks and 938 pairs of used shoes, have been dispatched.