The Ogun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, has vowed to track down some car smugglers who inflicted life-threatening machete wounds on one of its operatives at Ibeju River, around Ifoyintedo area of Lagos State last week.
Controller of the command, Comptroller Madugu Sanni stated this on Thursday while conducting newsmen round the smuggled vehicle that was seized during the attack, a Toyota Highlander 2014 model and recent seizures recorded by the command including a brand new Range Rover 2018 model.
Sanni said the command will not fold its arms while officers are being attacked by smugglers, appealing to traditional rulers to warn their wards against smuggling activities.
He said, “We are on the trail of the smugglers because we cannot fold our hands and allow them to be attacking us. We will retaliate and get at them and kill them if possible because they are killing us. We will not sit down and fold our arms and be looking at them.
“We are not fighting the public but smugglers. We also call on traditional rulers to discourage the activities of their wards that indulge in smuggling and perceive such as a legitimate way of livelihood.”
He said the seized Range Rover worth over N52 million was intercepted during a routine patrol by officers along the Lagos-Abeokuta Express way adding that no arrest was made as the smugglers fled into the bush on sighting the officers.
He said, “The officers were on a routine patrol within the State when they came into contact with this vehicle. We were lucky we intercepted it and got the key. When the smugglers got out of the car, they jumped into the bush.
“I’m surprise somebody has money to buy a vehicle of N52 million and you don’t want to pay government a kobo. How selfish some Nigerians can be. This is sickening and disturbing. These are really unpatriotic Nigerians. They have the money but they don’t want to pay tax.
“They know vehicles have been banned through the land borders so why are we deceiving ourselves? They will succeed one day but all other days will be for Customs. We will continue to seize all these brand new cars, the more they come, the more we seize them.”
Sanni added that the command within the last two weeks also intercepted 13 fairly used vehicles, 1158 bags of rice, 12 vehicles used as means of conveyance and 481 kegs of vegetable oil.
Other seizures recorded include 21 motorcycles, five sacks of second hand shoes and two sacks of second hand bags with a Duty Paid Value of N153.8 million.
The Customs boss assured that despite resistance from smugglers, the command will not relent in discharging its responsibilities of suppressing smuggling and other acts of economic sabotage in the state.