Public Relation Officer of the unit, Uche Ejesieme, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that 1,526 cartons of the banned items were allegedly impounded at Alakija, along the Badagry Expressway, Lagos, based on a tip-off.
This particular consignment, according to the Customs, had Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N6.4 million.
“On this particular occasion, we had a tip-off and we sent our operatives to the scene, but, because, they saw the vehicle in a place that was not fit for operation, they were on the trail of the truck until it got to a certain place where it broke down and the officers intercepted it somewhere near Alakija,” Ejesieme said.
He said the truck will remain in the custody of the Customs Zone ‘A’ FOU until investigations are concluded.
In a related development, the Unit had intercepted about 60 smaller vehicles and two trucks allegedly loaded with 11,623 cartons of assorted frozen poultry products, which had DPV of N48.7 million.
Making the disclosure where the seized items were deposited at the Unit’s Headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos, the Controller, Deputy Comptroller Inuwa Mohammed Abubakar, explained the seizure was actualised through strategic planning and careful execution.
In his words: “The Unit acted on intelligence report from critical stakeholders to the effect that some major markets are being used by the smugglers of these frozen poultry products. The Shagamu International Market was specifically mentioned. The Unit now dispatched a total of 27 officers and men in three Hilux patrol vehicles to the scene, led by SC Abdullahi, M.”
Abubakar said that, on arrival at the market, the team quickly cordoned off the area and impounded the vehicles, but faced serious antagonism from the suspected smugglers who were determined to ensure that the seizures were not taken away.
He said that, eventually the Customs team, with the assistance of the Police and the Military, overcame the opposition and were able to recover all the vehicles allegedly used as means of conveyance to the Headquarters of FOU Zone ‘A’ Ikeja.
The Controller explained that one of the Customs personnel on the raiding team, Principal Inspector of Customs A. Tambuwal had been attacked with a matchet and his AK-47 riffle snatched from him.
The AK-47 riffle, according to the Controller, was later recovered within the vicinity of the market.
Abubakarr eulogized the Ogun State Police Command, particularly the Area Commander, Shagamu, for the prompt response when the Customs sent out call for reinforcement.
He equally thanked the Operation Messa team of the Military for providing the necessary backup.
The Controller noted that that the favourable responses of the Police and the Miltary were practical demonstrations of inter-agency synergy and collaboration which he has always advocated.
While showering encomiums on the team for displaying acts of gallantry during the operation, the FOU Zone ‘A’ boss vowed to continue to deal very ruthlessly with the issue of smuggling in his areas of coverage.
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