The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday recorded a spectacular seizure of 11,264 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N95.7million.
Controller of the Unit, Deputy Comptroller Usman Turaki said the seizure was intercepted at a hideout in the jungle of Igbesa creeks, area of Ogun State.
He said the seizure was effected by Lagos roving team operations headed by AC Adamu Abubakar Mohammed, comprising other officers/men of the Unit who laid ambush for the consignment for almost 3 days before they struck.
He said due to the volatile nature of the area, several attempts to raid the place in the past was met with shift opposition from the hostile smugglers who he said had even attacked Customs Patrol teams that attempted to stop their nefarious activities.
“The unit had to roll out its Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) for these operations in view of the volatile nature of the terrain. The Lagos Roving Team met stiff opposition from the smugglers, hence the need for reinforcement from the neighbouring Commands of Ogun and Seme, as well as the Military, NSCDC, Navy and others who provided Security for the evacuation of the consignment. The rampaging smugglers were contained by our operatives who brought the experiences from their various trainings to bare. Even though the smugglers engaged our operatives in a shootout, the combined Team of our operatives over powered them with their superior fire power,”
“It is actually amazing to understand the naivety of the Baale of the Community who from all indications seem not to know that smuggling is an Economic crime. He told us point blank that smuggling is their only means of survival as the proceeds there from are used for developing their community. I was perplexed at that and I want to use this opportunity to urge the media both print and electronic to embark on mass education and sensitization using local dialects to disseminate information on the dangers of smuggling,”
“On arrival at the scene of crime, we started evacuation, even though we faced challenge of unmotorable terrain. On completion of evacuation, we destroyed the instrumentality of crime including the wooden boats, their storage facilities, and out board engines etc. This is aimed at frustrating their future attempts” he stated.
He promised that the Unit will strategize on how to sustain its present anti-smuggling tempo particularly at this ember months to guide against complacency. The Controller expressed his deep sense of appreciation to the entire officers/men of the Unit and particularly the Lagos Roving Team for raising the ante in anti-smuggling through the deployment of proactive measures in the campaign against smuggling.
“As daunting as the challenge of suppressing smuggling may be, we will continue to face it with unrelenting determination and will remain resolute in our attempt to suppress it to the barest minimum. The relentless commitment and tireless effort of officers and men of this unit is quite commendable” he said
The Controller noted that some smuggling flashpoints have been identified along the creeks and other illegal routes and promised that very intensive and aggressive patrol activities would be mounted in those areas in order to nip the activities of smugglers in the bud.
He called on Nigerians to always avail the Unit with relevant information that could lead to the tracking of smugglers while also promising that the identity of such patriotic informants would be treated with utmost secrecy.