The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operation Unit (FOU), Zone B, says it has arrested 21 suspects for allegedly smuggling over 4,000 bags of foreign rice into the country in December 2018.
The Controller in charge of the unit, Mohammed Sarkin-Kebbi, made the disclosure on Friday while inspecting smuggled items in Katsina on Friday.
He said that 15 of the suspects were arrested in Kaduna, four in Kano while the remaining two were apprehended in Katsina state during the period under review.
Sarkin-Kebbi disclosed that the suspects allegedly used about 53 vehicles to bring the commodity into the country.
According to him, some of the suspects concealed the rice inside local sponge to deceive Customs officers.
He said that other items seized from the suspects included some Jerry cans of vegetable oil, cartons of spaghetti and bales of second-hand clothes.
Sarkin-Kebbi further disclosed that the seized items had a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of about N208 million.
He commended officers and men of the unit for the feat and urged them not to relent in their efforts at ensuring that activities of smugglers were nipped in the bud within the zone.
“I urge the officers and men of the unit to continue to be more patriotic and committed to duty in curtailing smuggling activities,” he said.
He called on the media to continue to sensitise the public, particularly border communities on the dangers associated with smuggling activities.