Economic Sabotage : Customs in Owerri seizes hard drugs, contraband worth N1.6bn

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Economic Sabotage :
Customs in Owerri seizes hard drugs, contraband worth N1.6bn

Arrests 9 suspects

The CAC and his officers showing the seized items

Smugglers sabotaging the nation’s economy in the hinterland must be counting these losses now, as Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone ’C’ of Nigeria Customs Service, Owerri, has unleashed its anti-smuggling onslaught against saboteurs, seizing illicit drugs and other prohibited items worth over N1.6billion.

Items intercepted include cannabis sativa, raw materials for production of explosive devices, as well as other contraband smuggled illegally into the economic ambience.

The Zone also arrested nine suspects in connection with the seizures recorded from July 25 to September 23, 2023.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, DC Kayode Kolade, gave these details while addressing newsmen at the Government Warehouse, Aduwawa, Benin City, Edo state, on Monday.

Kolade, who frowned at the spate of smuggling in the Zone however said that he successfully recovered the sum of N54.2million from demand notices raised based on some infractions noticed, making a cumulative sum of N1,634,794,571.00 billion within the months under review.

In addition to the 417 sacks of cannabis sativa also known as Indian hemp weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of same Indian hemp 1kg each totaling 627kg, and 9 sacks 50kg each of explosives’ raw materials, he listed other seized products to include 1,329 bags, 50kg each of smuggled foreign parboiled rice ; 5 cartons of DSP Cough Syrup with codeine 100mg containing 1000 bottles ; 1 unit of armored Bullion Van; 761 jumbo bales of secondhand clothings ; 883 cartons of various unregistered/expired medicaments including tramadol; 100 cartons of  wine; 5,737 used pneumatic tyres ; 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste; 300 cartons of foreign spaghetti.

The CAC said : “Based on prompt intelligence and sting operation, the rice was intercepted along Calabar/Akwa Ibom axis and okada/benin expressway, the 417 sacks and 627 parcels of Indian hemp were intercepted at Okada-Benin and Ewu-Auchi Expressway respectively. 761 Jumbo bales of used clothings mostly concealed in trucks and buses were intercepted along Umeikaa/Aba Road and Okada-Benin road.

“The 5 cartons of DSP cough syrup with codeine and 883 cartons of unregistered medicaments were intercepted along Benin/Asaba/Onitsha Expressway.
The armored Bullion Van without customs documents and End User Certificate was intercepted along Okada/Benin Expressway. 100 cartons of wine and 335 cartons of tomato paste were intercepted along Ewu/Ibilo axis, 5,737 used pneumatic tyres were also intercepted along Cross River waterside and Okada-Benin Expressway “, he said.

The seized items :

He added;  “More worrisome is the interception of 9 sacks (50kg) each of explosive materials. We all know the security implication if these explosive ccomponents, if such items get to their destination unchecked. It may interest you to know that Superpower 90 is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting.

“The high detonation velocity and the robust nature of Superpower 90 makes it an ideal primer for the initiation of column charge. Let us not just imagine if dynamites and landmines are detonated using these items “, he said.

The CAC used that opportunity to congratulate the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi MFR on his appointment to oversee the affairs of the service describing it as “well deserved considering his pedigree, dedication and commitment to the service”.

“We will all make sure he succeeds as his leadership style has started yielding positive results in our operations. I thank the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi MFR, and the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service for their efforts so far in providing needed incentives and necessary logistics that aided our performance. To my dear colleagues, Customs Intelligence Unit, Customs Police, I must commend your prompt intelligence sharing, resilience and tenacity that brought about this stride “, he added.

He called on journalists to join the Nigeria Customs Service in the campaign against the hazard of smuggling to the Nation’s Economy, and to all well-meaning Nigerians to support the service with necessary intelligence and information that would assist the Service nip in the bud smuggling in the interest of our fatherland.

The Area Controller however warned all economic saboteurs who plan to use the ember period for their nefarious acts to have a rethink, as the Service will make sure they count their losses, adding that “no amount of distraction will stop us from carrying out our statutory responsibilities, not even in the face of attacks we encountered this month by some sponsored elements”.


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