The Comptroller of Customs Ogun Area Command, Idi-Iriko, Ogun State, Comptroller Peter Kolo has sounded a note of warning to members of public aiding smugglers to hoard their goods, saying henceforth, any ware house found with prohibited goods would be demolished.
Comptroller Kolo said that other penalties apart from demolition include confiscation of goods and prosecution of the offender.
He stated this in continuation of his courtesy visits to Traditional rulers and stakeholders across Ogun State to seek for their support and collaboration to ensure that his administration succeed.
He made it known clearly that Customs is covered under the law to operate any where adding that if Smugglers escaped arrest from Customs at border areas he could as well be arrested at any where in the town or in his house if the smuggled items are still found in his possession.
According to him,”section 158 of Customs law permit Customs operatives to patrol anywhere in the country ,section 148 also permit them to carry out search of any ware house at any location while section 147 according to him guaranteed Customs Officers the right to search houses belonging to an individuals if suspected to be harbouring illicit and prohibited goods. ”
He quarried to know if a criminal suspect that escaped Police arrest in Ayetoro could be arrested if seen in Kaduna under the law or not, or wether such criminal has ceased to be an accuse person.
He said “If such an escaped criminal could still be arrested any where in the country by the Police then, Customs have the power to arrest smugglers any where weather in the markets,on the streets or in his house”.
The new Customs Controller stated this during his visit to the Olu of Ilaro, the Paramount ruler of Yewa land, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle and the Alaye of Ayetoro, Oba Azeez Akinola.
He seek for the monarchs support to educate and enlighten their subjects to stop attacking Customs Operatives saying they are working for the development of the country and not killers squad.
He also declared that border is still remained closed at Idiroko and Ilara Axises saying that rice, poultry products, Arms and ammunitions and dangerous drugs such as tramadol among all others remained prohibited.
According to him, Customs have three mandates which is to collect revenue for the government,to suppress smuggling and to encourage legitimate businesses. Urging Traditional Rulers to give their fatherly support to ensure that Government mandates are well carried out.
Comptroller Kolo also disclosed that his Command is making necessary arrangements to host town meetings that would be attended by youths, stakeholders, Traditional Rulers, citizens of border communities and members of security outfits.
Responding the Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle pledged his total support urging government to do the needful in return for the citizens especially to provide employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth in the border towns.
“The major challenge to Customs work here is the unemployment if the youths are not well managed the Customs may not be able to perform their works effectively.
“The rate at which Machine riders otherwise known as Okada are operating now in Ilaro you will be surprised and be wondering whether this is not Ilaro town you know before. Some of them are not even the natives but those searching for how to feed themselves.
“So.there is urgent need for the government intervention because an hungary man is an angry man. Olu of Ilaro stressed.
The Comptroller also went round to visit the Adogun of Iganokoto, Oba Mukaila Salako, the Eselu of Iseluland, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi, Elebute of Ebute Igbooro, Oba Adetunji Amusa Dosunmu, Onigua of Igualand, Oba Michael Adeleye Dosunmu and Alademeso of Iganalade, Oba Gabrel Olalowo.
He also visited the Adele of Ijoun, Chief Alani Olaleye, the Onimeko of Imekoland, Oba Benjamin Alabi Olalekan, the Oloola of Ilara where he met with the Adele and also visited home of Baale of Alagbe Chief Joseph Iroko where he ended the tour.