*Says allegation false, malicious
(Report by Udeme Clement):
Ogun 1 Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has debunked allegation against its formation on smuggling of arms, ammunition and other prohibited items into the country.
The Command described the allegation as false and malicious.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO), of Ogun 1 Command, DSC lHAMMED BUKOYE OLOYEDE, made this known through official press statement signed and made available to reporters.
Speaking on behalf of the Customs Area Controller (CAC), of the Command, Comptroller Peter Kolo, the PRO said the allegation is mischievous.
His words; “The attention of Nigeria Customs Service Ogun I Area Command has been drawn to malicious allegation leveled against it during a purported press conference jointly addressed by one Mr. Damilola Simeon Kehinde, said to be the Chairman of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANs) JCC and one Mr. Ogunrombi Gbemileke, said to be National President of NAOSS, and another report published on Sun online news of Thursday, August 26, 2021.
“The Command would not have bothered to respond to such lies but for three reasons, the most important of which is that the lies are not only misleading but are likely to create unnecessary tension in Ogun State and the Country”.
He said emphatically; “The Command wishes to categorically debunk the allegation of Arms importation through Ogun State and hereby states that, there has never been a time where Arms and Ammunition are allowed to be Smuggled into the Country through Ogun state and it will not be allowed to be smuggled in whatever form.
” The Command had since fortified numerous illegal routes through which contrabands are smuggled into the Country with aggressive patrols and had stepped up its anti-smuggling operations in the State, to checkmate nefarious activities of these enemies of the State.
“Allegation of Smuggling activities taking place during the daytime is only in the imagination of the fabricator of that story. The tightened security architecture in the state today by Customs and other Security Agencies will not permit Smuggling of contraband and other prohibited items at night, let alone during the day.
“It is on record that since the resumption of Peter Kolo, the records of our achievements in the Command in both areas of revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities are being given out to the media on monthly basis, in order for the public to be informed of our activities.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Command recorded over One Thousand, five hundred seizures of various contrabands and prohibited items ranging from foreign parboiled rice to used vehicles, shoes, clothings, Tomato Paste, Cannabiz Sativa (Marijuana), and petroleum products, since the beginning of the year. For instance seizures of 46,491 bags of foreign rice made by the Command from the month of January 2021 to August 2021.
About 20 suspects are currently undergoing trial for various Smuggling offenses in the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
” Where were the authors of this malicious publication when officers and men of the Customs Service were being daily attacked with AK47 Rifles, locally produced guns, pistols and other dangerous weapons even Charm by the dare-devil smugglers, who are their brothers and sisters, cousins and uncles in the State. In most of these attacks, officers are injured, killed and Government properties destroyed (Vehicles and buildings set ablaze). What did they do and what did they said? These are the same group who carried placards and demonstrated to Government House and State House of Assembly last year December, 2020, alleging incessant killings of their Citizens by Customs.
“Let the public know that this allegation is baseless, unfounded, mischievous, dangerous, misleading and aimed at causing distraction to our operations and security architecture in Ogun State and the Country. It should therefore be disregarded. We are focused in our anti-smuggling duties and remained resolute to continue with our onslaught on these enemies of the state”.
In as much as the Command does not want to join issues with the so-called students, their sponsors and collaborators, we want to advise them to concentrate on their studies and school activities so that they graduate in record time and be better citizens tomorrow, instead of offering and allowing themselves to be used as tools for blackmail of individuals and Government Institution. The Service wishes to implore them to channel their energy towards educating their fellow members of various communities on dangers inherent in Smuggling activities.