The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun Area Command, has impounded 18 vehicles loaded with bags of rice at the Idiroko border, which were being smuggled into the country from the Republic of Benin.
The Controller of the command, Comptroller Multafu Waindu, said the vehicles and contraband were impounded around 3am at Alari and Ifoyintedo bush paths, in the Ipokia Local Government Area of the state.
He explained that the bags of rice and vehicles were abandoned by the smugglers, who fled into the bush as the Customs patrol team closed in on them.
He said the smugglers also abandoned two locally-made guns.
He said, “On Monday, around 3am, our officers, while on patrol, got a tip-off on some smugglers who were in a convoy of vehicles loaded with smuggled bags of rice around the Alari and Ifoyintedo bush paths.
“The officers intercepted 18 vehicles of different brands, loaded with the goods smuggled from the Republic of Benin into the country. The smugglers, on sighting our officers, abandoned the vehicles and fled into the bush. They also left behind two locally-made guns.”
The seized vehicles were rebuilt for the illicit trade, adding that some of them had their shock absorbers doubled and reinforced.
The controller said the command’s patrol team also intercepted 410 motorcycles being used as means of conveyance, with each having the capacity to carry eight bags of rice per trip.
While warning smugglers to desist from the illegal trade, Waindu maintained that the law banning rice importation through the land border was still in force.
“Even if you are carrying a bag of rice, we will seize it; because it is illegal,” he added.
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