The Strike Force Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday announced that it intercepted smuggled goods worth over N9 billion.
Also, the anti-smuggling unit announced that seven notorious suspected smugglers were arrested in connection with the remarkable seizures.
Set up a few months ago by the Comptroller General of the NCS, Col Hameed Ali (rtd.), the strike force has a mandate to rid Nigeria of smuggling and enhance the revenue drive of the service.
Speaking with reporters in Lagos yesterday, the National Coordinator of the strike force, Abdullahi Kirawa, a Deputy Controller, said the seizures were made through adequate intelligence gathering, coupled with the efforts of the officers of the Zone ‘A’ Unit of the strike force led by Muhammed Shuaibu.
The Central Intelligence Unit (CIU), of the Service, he said, contributed immensely to the seizures and the arrest of the suspected smugglers.
According to him, “The items seized by the officers included over 8,000 bags of 50kg foreign smuggled rice and Pangolin scales weighing 7, 560.9kg and worth over N8billion. Other seized items included 108 kegs of vegetable oil, container load of used clothing and 404 used imported tyres.”
The strike force also said it sized a 40-feet container load of Match Crakers of three and four sounds.
Kirawa said the seizures were made following tip-offs from some patriotic Nigerians, adding that citizens engagement has helped to bring down smuggling activities to barest level in the service.
He assured that the service would not relent in its efforts to end smuggling in the country for the good of the economy, to generate employment and promote national growth.
”Strike force officers and men will not relent in thier efforts of ensuring that die-hard smugglers are arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others. Those that are engaging in rice smuggling are enemies of our people and our country because we have the capacity and the capability to produce the rice we can eat as a country. Rice importation through the land borders is prohibited,” he said.
Kirawa explained that the strike force set up by the Controller General has the mandate to ensure effective suppression of smuggling to facilitate increase revenue to the federal government.
He therefore urged Nigerians to ensure that they conduct their businesses within the ambit of the law