By Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Kano/Jigawa Area Command on Tuesday impounded 1,200 bags of foreign rice, 300 jerry cans of foreign vegetable oil, 100 bags of foreign sugar and 200 cartons of foreign spaghetti valued at over N35 million within three weeks of intensive operations.
The Comptroller in-charge of the Command, Mr. Nasir Ahmad, explained that the seizures were made at various times by the patrol team along Daura Road, Katsina Road, Gwarzo Road in Kano, and Babura border in Jigawa State.
“We have a total of 1,200 bags of foreign rice worth N27 million; 300 jerry cans of foreign vegetable oil worth over N3.5 million; 100 bags of foreign sugar worth over N2million; and 200 cartons of foreign spaghetti worth over N500,000.
“We also impounded 14 vehicles used in conveying the smuggled contraband. Now, what we are trying to say is this, as long as they won’t stop smuggling, we won’t stop seizing them,” he said.
Ahmed said that five suspects were also arrested in connection to the seizures.
According to him, “We have five suspects arrested so far and they would be prosecuted according the provision of the law. We have our legal department and they are handling it accordingly.
“It is in their own interest to stop smuggling and help the economy of the nation. It is in their own interest to stop smuggling and help the economy of the North, because the North is the major producers of rice, apart from Ebonyi State. Other states producing rice are domiciled in the 19 northern states. Now, why are they killing the business?
“Like I said earlier on, Customs is not here to kill businesses. Customs is here to promote genuine and legitimate trade and that is what we keep doing. If you are in legitimate business, we won’t come after you, we will encourage you and we will be with you; and that is why we have incentives for those that are in genuine businesses and we provide fast-track for them to use.
“But as long as you want to engage in the act of smuggling, you will never be our friend and we will never be your friend. Now, to those that think they can just come after officers, we will come after you. You cannot kill our officers; you cannot maim our officers and go scot free.
“Anybody that does that, we will come right after you because this is not a personal job we are doing, this is a federal government job, and it is for the promotion of the economy of the nation.”