By Oyeniyi Iwakun
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone “A”, Ikeja, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has on Monday, 20th March, 2018, in Lagos, showcased contrabands with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N2,557,261,280.6 intercepted at various locations at the South West zone.
The Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Uba in a press briefing explained that after an intensive onslaught on dare devil smugglers and with the deployment of the unit’s tactical operational modalities, 16 Exotic vehicles mostly 2017 model, 7,201 bags of foreign parboiled rice (12 trailers), 1,172 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1,352 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 72 bales of used clothing, 464 pieces of used tyres, 407 sacks of Pangolin scales, and 629 pieces of textile Ankara Material among others were seized between 1st-19th March, 2018.
Giving details of the seizures, Compt. Uba said 8 trucks laden with 3,351 bags of rice and 669 jerrycans of vegetable oil was intercepted along Iseyin, Oyo/Osun Axis and also 1,253 bags of rice 50kg each, were evacuated from a warehouse in Ogbomosho based on credible intelligence despite resistance.
“You will recall that the ban on the importation of foreign rice through the land was to encourage efficiency in local production. Therefore, the need to support the Federal Government policy on Rice, encourage local rice farmers, the millers and patronize our own nutritional rice cannot be over emphasized.” He said
Among the 16 exotic Vehicles are; 2 Lexus Jeep (RS350 2016, 2017 model), 1 Rolls Royce, 1 Lincoln Limousine (2014), 3 Toyota Camry (2009, 2013 and 2017 models), 1 Toyota Rav 4, 1 Toyota Avalon (2016) 1Toyota Tundra, 1 Dodge among others.
According to Compt. Uba, 6 vehicles were evacuated based on intelligence along Lekki Epe Expressway, while the remaining 10 were intercepted in the course of information patrol at various locations. He then clarified that the vehicles are still under detention pending the grace period allowed for the owners to bring relevant customs document.
Similarly, 407 sacks Of Pangolin Scales weighing 10,263kg was reportedly evacuated from an apartment at 64 Opebi Road, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja Lagos within the weeks under review with a DPV of N2,094,243,456.69.
The Customs boss, who vowed to ensure sustenance of the laudable performance by making sure smugglers are brought to book, announced that five suspects have been arrested in connection with these 89 seizures.
While thanking the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and the entire Management Team of the NCS for recognizing the unit’s achievements through a commendation letter and providing necessary logistics that brought about the feat, Compt. Uba said “in the spirit of inter-agency cooperation, the pangolin scales and the suspect will be handed over to Nigeria Environment Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for further investigation in collaboration towards protecting our natural habitat and protecting our endangered species”
Recall that FOU Zone “A” is the hub of anti-smuggling operations in South West Nigeria and perhaps the largest in West Africa. The command under the leadership of Comptroller Mohammed Uba has recorded unprecedented achievements in anti-smuggling fight in the past months.
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