The Area Comptroller, Seme Command of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Willy Egbudin, said it seized 1,200 bags of smuggled rice worth N11.7 million.
Egbudin, who announced this when he briefed newsmen on Tuesday, said the bags were seized from smugglers on Dec. 13, adding that the seizure was made at the Kotomeji Area of Badagry, adding that the seizure was made on Friday night.
“Ostensibly aware of the implication of being met with their smuggled wares, the suspected smugglers escaped through the sea on sighting our officers who carried out the operation.
“Meanwhile, efforts are being made to arrest and bring the persons behind this unlawful act to book by making them face the full wrath of the law. This is the highest single seizure of rice made by this command this year and we are ready to do more,’’ Egbudin said.
He said he spoke with various traditional rulers to warn their subjects on the dangers of smuggling.
“I have interacted with all stakeholders in the area, including traditional rulers in Badagry, particularly those whose domains are along the border areas between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.
“We urged them to always contribute to the protection of the national economy by discouraging smuggling among their subjects. Smuggling is nobody’s birth right so people should learn how to desist from such because it endangers the nation’s economy. Smugglers also face jail term because they would be prosecuted in accordance with the law,’’ Egbudin said.
He reaffirmed the command’s determination to curb smuggling during the yuletide period. “We are not going on holiday, we are here round the clock and will continue to seize smuggled wares and arrest people involved in such acts.’’
In a related development, the Ogun Area Command of NCS said it seized 4,300 bags of rice and 64 bags of Cannabis Sativa, popularly called Indian Hemp from suspected smugglers within two weeks.
The Comptroller of the command, Haruna Mamudu, who made this known when he presented the seized items to newsmen in Abeokuta, said that 1,485 cartons of frozen poultry products, 37 used vehicles and 27 motorcycles were also seized within the first 14 days when he assumed duty on Dec 1.
“Immediately I took over, I started hitting the ground, the results are streaming in, and this is what you are seeing today within this short period of my assumption of office.
“I personally coordinated a seizure of a truck load of 600 bags of rice. So far, we have made 66 seizures whose duty paid values were worth N166.3 million,’’ he said.
The Principal Staff Officer in charge of Intelligence at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Adulahi Sardauna, received the seized cannabis weighing 260.4 kg from the comptroller.
He said a court order would be sought before burning them.
Mamudu explained that no fewer than 4,000 bags of rice were seized from suspected smugglers.
He said a truck, FUG 166 XA, was intercepted with 510 bags, adding another truck, BEN 319 XA, carrying 433 bags was intercepted at Idi-Iroko border.
Mamudu said that another truck, XA 993 LAF, was caught with 600 bags of rice, while an articulate vehicle, UBJ 151XA, was intercepted at Idi- Iroko.
Meanwhile, the new comptroller has warned people to shun smuggling, saying that NCS was ready to facilitate trade for the growth of individuals and for the nation’s economy.
“If you engage in legitimate business, we would facilitate trade because custom is dynamic. Today we are computerised and we don’t delay clearing of goods, this is because we are autonomous,’’ he said.