By Seun Ibiyemi
The Seme Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it has intercepted 55 wraps of cannabis smuggled and concealed with a dead body coming from Ghana along Owode axis.
Speaking during a media briefing yesterday, the Customs Area Comptroller of Seme Customs Command, Mohammed Uba Garba said the command also seized expired biscuits and baby diapers smuggled through the land border.
In the course of manning the border by security outfit of the Service, he said a vehicle was flagged down for cross examination and a dead body was found in the vehicle.
He added, “On further examination, something was hidden under the corpse. The vigilant Customs officer wanted to know what it was, they brought the corpse down immediately; we saw cannabis. We didn’t believe it was a dead body, it was opened and it was certified that physically it was a dead body. That was what happened exactly along Owode axis and 55 wraps of cannabis found hidden under the dead body.”
Speaking further, he said the intensified operation of the enforcement unit of the Command has drastically reduced smuggling activities to the barest minimum. Adding that the Command generated the sum of N2,627,149,100.21 from March till date.
Giving the breakdown of the seizures made so far by the command, he revealed that 2,000 cartons of expired biscuits with a DPV of N7,742,700, 175 x 6 yards of textiles worth N2,242,287, 15 sacks of used clothes with a DPV of N677,486, 28 cartons of medicament worth N1,083,978, 410 sacks of school bags with DPV of N13,227,113, and truck loaded with 493 packs of baby diapers worth N4,100,000 were all seized.
According to him, 1,582 parcels of Cannabis Sativa found concealed in an Indomie truck; and another notable arrest of 55 parcels of same Cannabis Sativa concealed in a Sienna bus were seized while a total of 1,686 parcels were arrested (with street value worth of over N30 million) for the period under review.
Other notable items seized include; 8,304 bags of 50kg foreign rice which is equivalent to over 14 trailer trucks of rice (DPV) plus levy of total N88,728,240, 31 X 25litres Jerry Cans of vegetable oil with a DPV of N269,911, 35 X 50kg bags of sugar with a DPV of N444,785, 138 x 25 litres of PMS with a DPV of N212,100, 71 cartons of expired food seasoning worth N458,109, 6336 cartons of alcoholic drinks also worth N4,776,525.
He said, “A total of 11 vehicles have also been seized. Notable amongst them are Toyota Highlander (2005), Range Rover (2007), Toyota Rav 4 (2006), Toyota Venza (2010) and others.
The combined duty paid value (DPV) for the vehicles stands at N46,129,880 while the grand total for both seizures and revenue is N2,793,242,214.21.”
Garba stated that six suspects were arrested during the period under review. He further re-emphasized the command’s determination to detect, arrest and prosecute those who fail to comply with the extant regulations; as their failure will be a cause for regret.
“As part of our community service, the Customs Comptroller General, directed that a total of 25,000 bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent of 42 trailer trucks), 650 bags of sugar, 150 cartons of Tin tomato, 150 bags of flour and 250 kegs of vegetable oil were transferred to the Nigeria Army Corps of Supply and Transport (NACST) between the month of April and May, for onward delivery to Yobe state government, Damaturu for distribution to IDPs in the state,” he added.
He called on patriotic citizens to support the command by reporting any smuggling activity or any relevant information that will assist the Command in discharging its statutory obligations.
He noted that the command aims at assessing modern communication tools to improve cross border efficiency along the corridor in facilitating border crossing for the promotion of regional integration towards simplification, standardization and harmonization of border crossing procedures thus achieving the core mandate of the service.
He stated that, “this is coming at the heels of efforts by the Customs high command for customs-to-customs inter-connectivity between Nigeria and Benin Republic which will revolutionize Customs operations at the border post.”