Customs FOU on red alert: Raids creeks, waterways in South-West
.Intercepts over N1.3bn contraband items
.Arrests 12 suspects
.Seizes 15 exotic vehicles
By Udeme Clement & Francis Chidiebere
Apparently, smugglers operating within the South West zone of the country must be counting their losses by now, as the Federal Operations Unit ,FOU, Zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, left no stone unturned in raiding the creeks, waterways and every illegal route used by smugglers for illicit business.
The re-invigoration of its anti-smuggling operations by beaming its searchlight at the creeks resulted in massive seizures of over N1.3billon contraband items within just few weeks (from May 16 to June 12, 2018). Also, the unit through its interventions recovered N59.5million from underpayments, thereby making a cumulative of N1.4billion within this short period under review.
In the same vein, FOU Zone ‘A’, which is known to be outstanding in its strategies of curbing smuggling swiftly arrested 12 suspects in connection with the seized items, even as 15 exotic vehicles were seized within the same period by FOU zone ‘A’.
Briefing Journalists at the Command, the Customs Area Controller, CAC, of FOU Zone ‘A’, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, disclosed, “The detained and seized items include 15 exotic vehicles such as 3 Toyota C-HR (2018 models), 1 Toyota Camry LE (2018), 1 Toyota Prado (2018), 1 Toyota Hilux (2017) , 1 Ford F150 (2017), 1 Pajero Jeep (2017) , 1 Mercedes Benz (2017), among others.”
The CAC went on, “Other spectacular seizures include 9,049 bags of foreign rice ( equivalent to15 trailers), 1,464 cartons of frozen poultry products, 870 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 273 bales of used clothings, 592 pieces of used tyres, among others”.
Comptroller Uba pointed out, “In order to ensure full implementation of the Government policy banning importation of rice through land borders, and following headquarters directive on same, we re-strategised our operational modalities and beamed our searchlight at the Creek, Waterways, and at various locations in southwest Zone, hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the period under review.”
He stressed, “We will continue to make sure smugglers within our areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging our economy. As you already know, smuggling is a global phenomenon that cannot be eradicated entirely, but if all hands are on deck it will reduce to its barest minimum”.
His words, “Let me commend our officers who put their lives on the line making these seizures, most especially the 15 trailers load of rice, knowing that it was a big battle at the creeks. Their resilience as well as doggedness is highly commendable”.
“This feat couldn’t have been possible without the logistics support from the Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC Hameed Ali, the entire management of the Service, as well as the media in sensitising the public, on the evil of smuggling to the nation’s economy”.
“Let me also use this opportunity to wish our Muslim Brothers happy Sallah celebration in advance.”