By Seun Ibiyemi
The Seme border command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it seized contraband and generate revenue of N1.1billion which included 13 trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country through neighbouring Benin Republic.
Speaking while displaying the seized items to journalists, the Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba said the command also seized 22 exotic vehicles worth N177million.
According to him, 71×25 liters’ kegs of PMS worth N105,500, 45×25 litres jerry cans of vegetable oil worth N573,750, 21 cartons of tinned tomatoes worth N125,575, 135x50kg bags of sugar with cost of N573,00 and 2 sacks of used shoes worth 67,500 .
Narrating the seizures, the Customs boss said that a Mutsibush van belonging to Fresh YO drinking yoghurt with DPV of 2,337,416 with 20 bags of smuggled rice was seized.
Uba also said that in the month of December 2018, the command generated the sum of N623 millon, representing about 92% of the command’s target allocated
Others are Toyota coaster van (2014 model), Toyota Landcruiser prado (2011), Mercedes Benz GLK 350 (2010), Toyota Sienna (2013), Toyota 4runner (2014) among others.
However, Comp. Mohammed said seven suspects connected to the act were arrested and in various stages of investigations and conviction.
“Already, seven suspects were arrested, others were convicted, bailed and currently detained in connection with the seizures and are undergoing interrogation for possible prosecution.
“Beyond the above statistics, it is obvious that the seizures represent protection of the economy and security of our people. Let me state clearly that it is simply not enough to inform you about the revenue and seizures (with the DPV); what is of paramount importance is to boost our economic growth and provide employment for our teeming youths.”
“Take for instance, the government policy on rice; the rationale behind the policy is geared towards self-sufficiency in terms of food production that would meet the demand of the citizenry. Incentives have been created for rice farmers, individuals and state governments have committed so much in terms of finance in order for this goal of self-sufficiency to be actualized.
“We as a Command cannot afford to be complacent. The dangers inherent in this illegality are too numerous to mention, hence our resolve to fight them relentlessly.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we are not out to frustrate members of the public or indeed the business community, our major interest is to facilitate legitimate trade.”
“All those who are compliant, have nothing to fear. We remain determined to detect, arrest and prosecute those who do not comply with the extant laws regarding importation and exportation through the land borders.”