. Arrests 11 suspects, as court convicted 3 suspected smugglers
By Steve Agbota
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday said it intercepted military camouflage and 450 units of explosive-making chemical popularly known as carbidesmuggled into the country.
The unit said 11 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the wares, while the Federal High Court had convicted 3 people for the crime of smuggling.
Addressing journalists in Lagos , the acting Controller of the Unit, Hussein Ejibunu, said the 68 pieces of smuggled military wares were seized in January and 47,750 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), worth N517.9million.
However, Ejibunu, also handed over seized 2,135 wraps of marijuana weighing 1,163 kg to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), saying that the Unit was out to tackle the economic menace caused by recalcitrant importers and agents.
“We did not only re-strategize our operations but our officers are urged to be more professional, and are keyed into the Service’s Standard Operations Procedure (SOP); aimed at facilitating legitimate trade.
“In doing this, we are assuring all compliant traders and importers that they have nothing to fear. While the recalcitrant ones are advised to desist because we are better mobilized with high morale to arrest, prosecute, and make them loose their wares in forfeiture to the federal government.
“Seizures recorded in January 2023 are a reflection of officers’ commitment to duty, and no compromise posture in the discharge of our statutory responsibilities; aimed at protecting the national economy and preventing the importation of prohibited, and harmful goods,” he added.
According to him, these goods were intercepted along the border corridors of the South-West for contravening different Customs laws, saying 11 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the wares, while the Federal High Court had convicted 3 people for the crime of smuggling.
“Considering the spate of insecurity across the country, and the upcoming general elections; it can be postulated that the importation of Indian Hemp, and military camouflage could be used to fuel crimes and electoral violence by unpatriotic elements. while the former is under prohibition, the latter are under the control and supervision of the Office of the National Security Adviser, which requires End-User Certificates.
“Members of the public are hereby, enjoined to key into the prevailing security concerns by providing useful, and timely information that would expose and lead to the arrest of the enemies of the state,” he said
He said N86,117,398.50 was recovered as revenue from the unit into the federation account through the issuance of demand notices (DN) on Customs duties that were discovered to be underpaid by importers
Speaking after receiving the contrabands, an Assistant Commandant, Narcotics, Moshood Aluko, said the anti-narcotics agency would do its best to cover up the black spots that aids the consignments in coming into the country.
“From what the Controller said there is a black spot everywhere we have to start, track and educate them. The volume is too much and we don’t expect much to be in circulation. We are grateful to Customs if not if this size of cannabis is found in the system it is not good, it can lead to mental disorders. You know in fighting drug abuse and menace a lot of stakeholders are involved,” he stated.