The Command Area Comptroller, Peter Kolo, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, said the command had never recorded such quantum seizure of prohibited rice
The Ogun Area 1 Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Idiroko, has disclosed that a total of 7,000 bags of parboiled foreign rice equivalent to 12 trailers were intercepted in March.
The Command Area Comptroller, Peter Kolo, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, said the command had never recorded such quantum seizure of prohibited rice.
Kolo, who gave the total seizures of various contraband goods in the month of March as 167, added that the Duty Paid Value on the contraband amounts to one hundred and sixteen million, five hundred and eighty-six thousand, six hundred and seven Naira, zero Kobo (N116,586,607.00).
He said, “during the first quarter of this year, (January-March 2021), Ogun 1 Area Command arrested and seized about Nineteen thousand (19,000) bags (the equivalent of 38 trailer load) of 50kg each of foreign parboiled rice with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of three hundred and seven million, eight hundred and ninety-one thousand, six hundred and ninety-six Naira, zero Kobo (#307,891,696.00)”.
“Never in the history of this Command have we recorded this quantum of rice seizure. I commend the efforts of gallantry officers serving in the Command for these feats”, the Customs boss said.
He, however, attributed the feats recorded by his team to good motivation from CGC Hameed Ali.
“Successes recorded in our operations command could be attributed to the good motivation from the Nigeria Customs Service Management which has boosted the morale of officers and had kept them in high spirit at all times”
“Aggressive stakeholder’s engagement by the Customs Area Controller (CAC) including visit and parley with over 27 traditional rulers, youth leaders as well as all security and government agencies in Ogun State”, Kolo added.
He further stated: “Continuous deployment of intelligence in our operations; recently a systematic arrangement of some crates of Coca Cola products to ingenuously conceal some bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each in two trucks was uncovered by the eagle eyes of the patrol officers in the Command. The trucks suspected to be coming from Ilaro border were intercepted along Denro-Olorunda-Abeokuta Road.
“The intercepted trucks and the bags of rice in them had already been seized. While we commend the vigilant officers for this feat, we wish to condemn in strong term attempts by smugglers to use branded truck of multinational companies to aid their nefarious activities”.
The Comptroller disclosed further that during the period under review, four suspected smugglers were arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abeokuta, declaring economic saboteurs must be punished according to the law.
Meanwhile, the command has refuted a media report alleging compromise on the part of customs operatives by allowing about 60,000 bags of smuggled rice into the country within a week.
Kolo, who described the report as a “bogus claim an exaggeration of enormous proportion”, noted that his men would always abide by the directive of the Federal Government by ensuring that prohibited items are not smuggled into the country through the land borders.
He added that the Service in observance of the rules of engagement will continue with its onslaught on smugglers and other criminal elements in and around Ogun Border Communities”, Kolo stressed.
“We shall continue to ensure that anyone caught indulging in smuggling activities and obstruction of our officers while carrying out their lawful duties is brought to “justice.
“The Command will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on the socio-economic implication of smuggling as well as performing its statutory function of enforcing compliance in line with Federal government fiscal policies”.
“We wish to reiterate that the continued attack on operatives of the NCS and other sister agencies will not be deterred,” he concluded.