Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Oyo/Osun area command has impounded a bullion van and 10 fairly used vehicles loaded with smuggled rice.
The bullion van was intercepted at Saki, Oke Ogun axis of the command.
The command also impounded 16 fairly used exotic cars, two brand new Land Rover Discovery, one fairly used Man Diesel Truck and a truck carrying a smuggled brand new Honda Accord car.
While briefing journalists yesterday at the Command Barracks in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, about the seizures, the Customs Area Controller, Mr. Tolutope Ogunkua, said it was worrisome to note that some Nigerians remain unrepentant even as they continue to lose.
He said the arrest of the bullion van, meant for conveying cash, was used in concealing smuggled imported foreign rice, should send a serious signal to the smugglers.
While appealing to well meaning Nigerians to engage in legitimate businesses and shun smuggling, Ogunkua maintained that anyone arrested with smuggled items would be charged to court.
“In keeping to this promise, the command initiated new anti-smuggling strategies which led to remarkable exploits evidenced in the seizures on display which include, one bullion van loaded with rice, one fairly used Rover, one fairly used Toyota Highlander, two fairly used Toyota Camry, two fairly used Volkwagon Golf, two fairly used Mercedes truck loaded with rice, two fairly used Nissan Land Rover, one fairly used Man Diesel Truck, two fairly used Nissan Urvan loaded with rice, five fairly uses Toyota Hiace loaded with rice, one fairly used Nissan Vannet loaded with smuggled imported rice, two fairly used Toyota Land Cruiser, one fairly used Mazda 626, one fairly used Honda Accord Saloon, one fairly used Lexus GX470, one fairly used Daihatsu Atrai, one fairly used lite Ace bus, two brand new Land Rover Discovery and a truck carrying smuggled brand new Honda Accord.
“It is worrisome to note that some Nigerians remain unrepentant even as they continue to lose, not even the federal government’s visible efforts in transforming the agricultural sector, especially in the area of rice production as well as the increase prevalence of expired imported rice with its hazardous health implications have touched their conscience to avoid rice smuggling.
“However our resolve to deal with them remains unshaken more so now that the present management has directed thorough investigation with the view to prosecuting all those that will be found connected to this illegal act.
“The arrest of a bullion van meant for convening cash used in concealing smuggled imported foreign rice should send s serious signal to these recalcitrant saboteurs of the Nigerian economy that there is no hiding place. We are determined to beat all their concealment patterns with our superior intelligence network.
“The recalcitrant ones who still insist on engaging in the illicit business of smuggling should be well advised that they would not escape the long arm of the law especially as the yuletide approaches.
“We have told people to pay duty, I can’t imagine somebody buying these kind of exotic vehicles and packed in the bush. We will continue to arrest them, if possible we will prosecute them. If you are arrested with fake documents, we will prosecute you and the agent.