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Ogun Customs Uncovers Smugglers Hideouts

Ogun Customs Uncovers Smugglers HideoutsBy Oyeniyi Iwakun

In pursuance of its agenda to suppress smuggling and facilitate trade, The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Ogun State Command has announced the discovery of some smugglers hideouts in the Ogun forests and impounded eleven assorted vehicles with a duty paid value (DPV) of over  N126,204,890.00 and over 600 bags of par boiled rice smuggled into the country through unapproved routes.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Sani Madugu while showcasing some of the seizures at Idiroko, on Wednessday, said the successful anti-smuggling operations were carried out between September 25th and October 4th, 2017.

The assorted vehicles which includes: Honda Pilot (2004 model), Two Toyota Highlander (2006 and 2015 models respectilevely), Toyota sienna (2004 model), Lexus RX (1999 model), Land Cruiser Prado (2017 model), Toyota Hiace Bus (2017 model), Acura ZDX saloon, Lexus Jeep, Opel Omega, Opel Austral station wagon were intercepted at various points within four days.

“We have shown you some of the seizures including a Toyota Hiace Bus popularly known as Hummer at Abeokuta yesterday. Today, we are at Idiroko to show you what we have done in the last four days. Anti-smuggling activities in the Ogun command as we mentioned earlier is ongoing, we are succeeding, we are defeating the smugglers and we are winning them. We have recorded success in Idiroko axis, like we did in Abeokuta. We have more than six hundred bags of rice that we seized from smugglers three  days.” He said

The Area Controller explained that the Ogun command has made relentless efforts via blocking all leakages including curbing smuggling activities at all cost in ensuring that government revenue isn’t lost.

“We are strongly fighting them and we are now following them to the bushes. We are not only the road; we are as well in the bush, in the creek, near the water and any other places they hide. We have now discovered their hideouts, where they normally transit rice. It is a particular small hurt, where they now put an elderly person who will disguise as the house owner by sitting in front of it in the bush. We broke into one of them about four days ago and evacuated two hundred and fifty (250) bags of rice from there. This is part of the rice you are seeing here. We have equally struck another hiding place of theirs.  They have resulted to that because the road is now very hot for them.” The CAC said.

He however explained that despite the numerous challenges emanating from the tricks and daily innovations of smuggling in carrying out their operations, the customs have not and will not stop going after them in order to ensure that the Nigerian economy is strong, viable and virile. “We are trying our best but they are devising new means, and we will continue to trail them. Whichever new means they adopt, customs in Ogun will get them. Wherever we go, we are always on plan A and on arrival switch to plan B.

While commending the officers, intelligence unit of the Ogun customs in particular for the intelligence gathering and useful information, he acknowledged the collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Army, Police who have continued to give supports and backups during turbulent operations, hence the remarkable results achieved and he promised to keep the public informed on subsequent activities of the command.

The CAC also admonished the public to join the anti-smuggling fight as “a war that must be fought by every Nigerian” because of its capability of crippling the economy. He also enjoined the press to intensify efforts in educating the public on the need to shun smuggling and patronage of smuggled, contrabands and sub-standard products.

When quizzed on the efforts of the command in sensitizing the public, he said he had on countless occasions engaged the community, youth and religious leaders and solicited their support. “I started with the paramount ruler, the Alake of Egbaland to the Obas and the Baales. We have been sensitizing them but the smugglers would not listen because like I said earlier, they see their business as very lucrative.

“We urge the press to help us broadcast and educate the masses on what we are doing so that people who give out money ignorantly to  smugglers to buy them vehicles and other items from Cotonou  should know that customs is at work. Tell them that we are seizing these kinds of items as we will not tolerate any excuse of ignorance from anybody. We will continue to do our work but we need your cooperation and assistance, with your assistance, the war against smuggling will be a success for us” He stated.

While reiterating that the importation of vehicles and rice through the land borders remain banned , the CAC said rice and vehicles importers should transact businesses legitimately via the seaports.

“we cannot be building other people’s countries and destroy our own economy. The amount the smugglers use in bringing in the vehicles through unapproved routes  are even higher than the expected legitimate payments at the ports, so why not patronize the ports for a vehicle that is very sound and reliable?” He stated

The CAC who implored the masses to desist from patronizing smugglers explained that there are so many risks attached to buying the smuggled vehicles and other goods.

While identifying the usual acts of smugglers rushing into communities whenever customs is after them as one of the reasons some smugglers have succeeded with their illicit activities, the customs boss said there is a renewed  efforts to arrest such situation.

 

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