The Ogun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service said it has distributed 14,000 bags of seized smuggled rice to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East region of the country.
Controller, Ogun Area 1 Command, Comptroller Michael Agbara, who disclosed this at Idiroko last week, said despite the tonnes of rice transferred to the IDPs, the command warehouses located at Idiroko and Abeokuta are still filled to the brim with over 21, 000 bags of seized foreign smuggled rice.
The command, he said is currently awaiting letter of allocation from the Customs management to enable it commence the distribution of the rice at the warehouse.
Attributing the seizure to the sustained onslaught against rice smugglers by the command, Agbara warned smugglers to steer clear of Ogun State or face the wrath of the law.
“We have two warehouses, one in Idiroko and the other one in Abeokuta. What you are seeing in this warehouse is up to 21,000 bags of rice while we still have some quantity at Abeokuta. Already we have distributed 14,000 bags of rice to IDPs, so we are trying to constructively warehouse this seized rice but we have notified the headquarters and I believe very soon, they will come with letter for allocation to IDPs.
“The raining season has made it difficult for them (smugglers) to use some terrains. So it becomes easier for us to make some arrest. But the major reason for the massive seizure is because we have put down our legs and say we must stop it or reduce it to the barest minimum.
“Smugglers should steer clear of Ogun State because we are not going to relax or soft pedal. We will continue to do what we know how to do best, that is pursuit of smugglers, arresting them and condemning the seized goods,” he said.
Meanwhile, the command said it has secured the conviction of three suspects, Yakubu Olamide, Paul Ayinla and Ayinde Adebayo, who vandalised its patrol vehicle at Ashipa forest on 22nd September 2017.
According to Agbara, “The three suspects were convicted and sentenced by a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, on 28 June, 2019.