Ogun 1 Area Command, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has dismissed allegations leveled against it during a press conference recently, as the NCS posited that claims of arms smuggling and other nefarious activities at the Idiroko border, are spurious.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSC Hammed Bukoye Oloyede made this known in a press statement on Friday.
Recently, a press conference jointly addressed by one Mr. Damilola Simeon Kehinde said to be the Chairman of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) JCC and one Mr. Ogunrombi Gbemileke said to be National President of NAOSS, and one other and published on Sun online news of Thursday, 26th August, 2021.
“The Command wishes to categorically debunk the allegation of Arms importation through Ogun State and hereby states that, there has never been a time where Arms and Ammunition are allowed to be smuggled into the country through Ogun state and it will not be allowed to be smuggled in whatever form. The Command had since fortified the numerous illegal routes through which contrabands are smuggled into the Country with aggressive patrols and had stepped up its anti-smuggling operations in the State to checkmate the nefarious activities of these enemies of the State,” the report said.
The Command’s PRO stated that another allegation of smuggling activities taking place during the daytime is the imagination of the fabricator of the story as the security architecture has been tightened in the area by Customs and other Security Agencies who will not permit smuggling of contrabands and other prohibited items.
“It is on record that since the resumption of the present Area Controller, Comptroller Peter Kolo, the record of our achievements in the Command in both areas of revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities are being given out to the Press (media) on monthly basis in order for the public to be informed of our activities.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Command recorded over one thousand, five hundred seizures of various contrabands and prohibited items ranging from foreign parboiled rice, foreign used vehicles, used shoes and clothing’s, Tomato Paste, Sativa (Marijuana), and petroleum products made for export since the beginning of the year. For instance, seizures of Forty-six thousand, four hundred and ninety one (46,491) bags of foreign parboiled rice were made in the Command between the months of January 2021 to August 2021. About 20 suspects are currently undergoing trial for various Smuggling offenses in the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, Ogun State.”
The Command advised the student group to focus and concentrate on their studies and school activities so that they graduate in record time and become better citizens instead of allowing themselves to be used as a tool for blackmail of individuals and government Institutions.
“The Service wishes to implore them to channel their energy towards educating their fellow members of various communities on dangers inherent in smuggling activities. Oratorically, where were the authors of this malicious publication when officers and men of the Customs Service were being daily attacked with AK47 Rifles, locally produced guns, pistols and other dangerous weapons with Charm by dare devil smugglers who are their brothers and sisters, cousins and uncles in the State. In most of these attacks, officers are injured, killed and government properties destroyed (vehicles and buildings set ablaze). What did they do and what did they say? These are the same element and group that carry placards and demonstrated to Government House and State House of Assembly last year December, 2020 alleging incessant killings of citizens by Customs, what hypocrisy!”
“Let the general public know that these allegations are baseless, unfounded, mischievous, dangerously misleading and aimed at causing distraction to our operations and security architecture in Ogun State and the Country and should therefore be disregarded. We are focused on our anti-smuggling duties and remain resolute to continue with our onslaught on these enemies of the state,” the press statement read.