The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ Ikeja of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has recorded a massive seizure of 11,264 bags of illegally imported 50kg foreign parboiled rice in Igbesa, Ogun state valued at N56,320,000.00 with a payable duty of N39,424,000.00 and dpv of N95,744,000.00, last week
This was contained in a release sent to MMS Plus Weekly by the Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejesieme stating that the Controller Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’, Deputy Controller Turaki Usman Adamu while inspecting the intercepted cargo in the Creek of Igbesan in Ogun State said that the seizure was effected by Lagos Roving Team Operations headed by Assistant Controller, Adamu Abubakar Mohammed, comprising other officers and men of the Unit.
According to the release, prior to the interception, the Controller had confirmed that they relied on intelligence report which posited that smugglers were planning to use the creeks to bring in large quantities of Rice from Benin Republic.
Sequel to this development, the Controller and the Team Leader fashioned out operational modalities to ensure that there was no leakage of information to the targeted group (smugglers). The Team laid ambush for the consignment for almost three (3) days before they struck.
“It is pertinent to point out that the area is reputed as both volatile and inaccessible particularly for Customs and several attempts to raid the place in the past was met with shift opposition from the hostile smugglers. We must place on record that they have attacked Customs Patrol Teams that attempted in the past to stop their nefarious activities. It is therefore not surprising to see the renewed vigour and dexterity of the FOU ‘A’ operations particularly the Lagos Roving Team led by AC Adamu Abubakar Mohammed,” the Controller said.
“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, that is, the wooden boats, their storage facilities, and out board engines etc. This is aimed at frustrating their future attempts” he added.
Speaking further, he said, “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 therefrom 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.”
It is instructive to point out that the FOU ‘A’ had to roll out its Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) for these operations in view of the volatile nature of the terrain. These tanks were rolled out with the express permission of the CGC, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde CFR who clearly understands the nature of such assignment. 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.
The Controller appreciated the CGC Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde CFR and his management for the enormous support which the Unit has received from them. He stated that the officers/men of the Unit are fully determined more than ever to take the war against smuggling to the deadliest and most volatile parts of the South West. He added that the new zeal and passion of the officers is attributable to the welfare programmes of the CGC which provided for motivation/remuneration, training and re-training, provision of functional patrol vehicles, arms/ammunition and the general well being of the officers/men of the Service.
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. He expressed optimism with the capacity and competence of the officers/men of FOU ‘A’ to frontally tackle the hydra headed monster of 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. He advised those who engage in acts of smuggling to have a rethink as the Service has zero tolerance for such unpatriotic act and promised that genuine importers or their agents will continue to enjoy the support of the NCS in line with our mandate to facilitate legitimate trade facilitation.