By Godfrey Bivbere
THE North Central Zone of the Joint Border Operations, JBO, led by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has impounded various contraband goods worth N1.2 billion, even as it disclosed that 53 suspects were arrested between May and June this year.
The coordinator of the zone comprising, Niger, Kogi and Kwara, Compt. Mohammed Uba Garba, who made this known, said the officers and men of the zone impounded a tipper load of sand in which 140 bags of foreign rice were concealed.
Mohammed noted that a patrol team comprising Nigeria Customs Officers, Nigeria Army, Nigeria Immigration Service, Department of State Services, DSS, Nigeria Police Force, and other security agencies raided two warehouses at Abayawo and Ita-merin areas, both in Ilorin West Local Government of Kwara State, suspected to be stockpiled with foreign parboiled rice.
The Customs boss noted that when the two stores were raided, a total of 450 and 224 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each respectively were discovered to be smuggled into the state.
He stated that late last month, the patrol team covering Babanna axis of the sector in Niger State, intercepted two Mitsubishi Canter with number plates XA-241-WEL and XC-166-SUL respectively laden with 54 drums of smuggled petrol with a duty paid Value, DPV, N1.9 million with two suspects.
One of the most exceptional seizures is the interception of a tipper with number plate ZAR 803 XA which concealed 140 bags of foreign rice in sharp sand, noting that some have resorted to using Keke Napep to smuggle rice.
According to Mohammed, “In our quest to sustain the tempo of aiding the Federal Government Policy on Agricultural Development in the area of boosting local rice production, the sector has also redoubled its efforts by recording a total of 225 seizures within the periods under review.
“This included 17,490 bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 29 trailers of 600 bags each), 310 kegs of vegetable oil, one locally made pistol with a live cartridge, 944 drums of Automated Gas Oil, AGO, 3,676 jerry cans of petroleum product of 25 liters each and 355 bundles of textile materials.
“Others are 28 bags of foreign fertilizer 66 cartons of different brands of beer, 67 units of vehicles, 78 motorcycles, one Keke Napep, 15 sacks of used some and 360 tubers of yam; all with a total Duty Paid Value, DPV of N1.207 billion. 53 suspects were also arrested during the period under review.”
He further pointed out that the sector has intensified efforts in the execution of the ongoing war against smuggling., stressing that proven new strategies in line with world best practices in suppressing smuggling were utilised coupled with the magnanimous support by the management and Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd) has enabled the sector to achieve great results.