By Sunday Okobi
As the Yuletide approaches, a Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Chief, Comptroller Amajam Bukar, has enjoined truck drivers to ensure that they do not use their vehicles to aid smuggling activities in the country.
In order to achieve this, he advised the management of companies that are into haulage business to monitor the activities of drivers on their payroll from the beginning of their journey to their destination.
Bukarâ€™s advice is coming on the heels of the recent upsurge in the use of vehicles belonging to corporate bodies in the smuggling of contraband across the country.
The Customs Chief who stated this recently in an interactive session with journalists cited a case of a truck belonging to the Dangote Group which was caught with 100 bags of 50kg rice concealed in it.
He also cited the case of a haulage firm whose new truck was used to transport 65 bales of used cloths, one of the items in the import prohibition list (IPL) compiled the Federal Government annually in line with its fiscal policies and enforced by the NCS.
Bukar who is also the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone â€˜Câ€™, Owerri, Imo State urged the media to help in the sensitisation of the detrimental activities of the drivers on their companies and the country at large.
He further added that some of the actions of these drivers posed health risks to Nigerians even as he cited the case of rice concealed in a truck used in transporting cement which is injurious to man.
He explained that the increase in smuggling activities, especially in commodities like rice, poultry products and vegetable oil was as a result of unscrupulous persons seeking to cut corners with the intention of making huge profits during the Yuletide.
The Customs Chief disclosed that officers and men in FOU, Zone C would not relent in their efforts to tackle smugglers headlong.
â€œTo this end, operatives have stepped up anti-smuggling operations aimed at checkmating the activities of such unpatriotic elements. Already, the anti-smuggling operations have yielded 41 seizures with a duty pad value (DPV) of N538, 386, 578.32 in the last two monthsâ€, he said.