The Western Marine command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has impounded a total of 941 (nine hundred and forty-one) 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice and 66 (sixty-six) kegs of 25kg petroleum products one months after the assumption of duty in the command of the new Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Mustapha Sarkin-Kebbi.
Conducting newsmen round the seizures on Thursday last week, Sarkin-Kebbi put the value of the goods at N6, 830, 719 (Six million, eight hundred and thirty thousand, seven hundred and nineteen naira), duty of the goods at N4, 781, 503.30 (four million, seven hundred and eighty-one thousand, five hundred and three naira, thirty kobo) and the Duty Paid Value (DPV) at N11, 612, 322.30 (eleven million, six hundred and twelve thousand, three hundred and twenty-two naira, thirty kobo).
The CAC hinted that the goods were intercepted from the Badagry and Idiroko axis respectively as well as along the Kebbi-Yawuri axis where 60 bags were also intercepted and transferred to the Sokoto command.
However, he said that no arrest was made in connection with the seizures as one suspect they would have arrested fell into the water and disappeared and was later found in the creeks by some people.
While describing smuggling as economic sabotage, he appealed to smugglers to embrace legitimate business and stop smuggling not only of rice but hard drugs adding,” because either by land or by water, we are going to catch you and we will prosecute you and jail you”.
On the operational challenges he met on assumption of duty, Sarkin-Kebbi while stating that he inherited dilapidated boats however disclosed that he had made a presentation to the customs headquarters and had gotten assurance from the headquarters to provide them with operational tools even as he added that the command was making use of the available ones at the moment to work leading to remarkable successes being recorded by the command.
“If you have sea going vessels and you patrol with them, then they need to be armed. Presently, they are not armed but a contract has already been awarded to arm those vessels because they are not going to stay in this shallow water, they go to the high sea, they need to be armed.
“So, within the next few months, they are going to arm them and hand them over to us to work with. The CGC felt since we use these ones to go to the high seas, we need them to be armed to protect ourselves and do our job”.