By Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Sokoto Command, comprising Kebbi and
Zamfara States, has impounded illicit goods with a duty paid value of
over N16 million.

The seized items included 320 kilogrammes of Indian hemp, 555 bags of rice, 34 bags of sugar and 45 bales of second hand clothing.

Addressing journalists in Sokoto Saturday, the Customs Area
Controller of the Command, Gimba Baba Umar, said the illicit goods were intercepted along Argungu/Kangiwa axis, border towns of Kamba, Dole Kaina, Illela as well as Sokoto/Gusau axis.

He said the command was able to intercept the illicit goods, following
intelligence by officers and cooperation of the police.

Umar explained that one of the smugglers attempted to use misguided
youths in order to evade Customs officers along Kamba border town in
Kebbi State.

“As you are aware, the culprit made an attempt to escape when he sighted our
officers on the way. In fact, he made a detour 200 metres away from the checkpoint and tried to mobilise youths in Bagudo area to fight our officers.

“However, the police intervened immediately and assisted our men in
recovering the 320 kg of cannabis, though no injury was recorded,” he
said.

He acknowledged the synergy between the command and other security
agencies in the area which led to the seizure of the illicit goods.

“The synergy with other sister agencies has been very vital in not only providing us with intelligence but also in the seizure of rice and Indian hemp in the zone,” he said.

Umar warned smugglers to steer clear of the zone, as the command would deal decisively with anyone found engaged in such acts.

The new controller emphasised that he would give priority to revenue generation, anti-smuggling and enlightenment of the public on the fiscal policies of the federal government.

Umar, to this end, reiterated his commitment to the fight against
smuggling in the zone.

He appealed to residents of border communities to continue to provide
the command with useful information in order to combat smuggling in the zone.

The Customs boss also handed over the 320kg of Indian hemp to the officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for necessary action.