Customs Arrest 21 Smugglers, Seize 4,180 Bags of Rice

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Francis Sardauna in Katsina

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Saturday disclosed that its Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘B’, Kaduna, had arrested 15 smugglers in Kaduna; two in Katsina and four in Kano, who would face prosecution before court of competent jurisdiction.

The custom service, also, disclosed that the unit has impounded 53 vehicles with 4,180 bags of foreign parboiled rice in 50 kilograms bags each and other contraband value at N218 million in January, 2019.

The Comptroller of the Federal Operation Unit, Mr. Kebbi Mustapha gave the figures at a news conference he addressed at the State Command, Katsina Saturday.

The comptroller said the goods were impounded in Kaduna, Katsina and Kano states based on credible intelligence officers of the service on patrol gathered within the period under review.

Mustapha said 21 persons “have been arrested in connection with the seized items. We have impounded 54 vehicles used as means of conveying the smuggled items in three states within my jurisdiction. These vehicles were loaded with 4,180 bags of parboiled rice.

“In Katsina, 1,520 bags of parboiled rice were seized; 1,260 bags of rice were also impounded in Kano, while in Kaduna state we seized 1,400 bags of the same rice. Other items seized include vegetable oil and many bales of second-hand clothes.

“The Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the seizures are as follow; Katsina state is N62 million; Kano N76 million, while that of Kaduna state is N80 million,” Mustapha said.

According to the comptroller, we also nabbed 15 smugglers in Kaduna; two in Katsina and four in Kano. Normally when we arrest them, we give them administrative bail pending the time we need them for prosecution.

Mustapha noted that the service would not relent until smuggling was reduce to the barest minimum, stressing that smuggling is an unpatriotic act which must not be allowed in the country.

He urged the public to conduct their businesses within the ambit of the law, adding that customs officers and men would not relent in their efforts at ensuring that smugglers are arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.

Similarly, the Katsina/Kaduna command of the Service recently intercepted various contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N32, 761, 944 between Augusts and September 2018. This is even as the command said it has generated the sum of N852, 064,139.41 within August 2018.

The former Area Comptroller in charge of Katsina/Kaduna command, Oyeleke Olakunle Abdulrazak while briefing journalists on the achievements of the command, said they were banned items which ought not to have been imported into the country since the Federal government has placed a ban on them.

He said: “The seized items includes 606 bags of 50Kg foreign rice, 239 bags of 50Kg imported sugar, 73 bales of second hand clothing, 327 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 25 motor vehicles of various kind, one truck and two motorcycles.

“This was achieved in tandem with efforts of the command’s intelligent unit. The public is hereby, called upon to approach customs formations anywhere for enquiries as it regard customs procedures on how to go about doing legitimate business.”

He reiterated that the seizures were based on credible intelligence gathering by officers of the Service on patrol between August and September this year.

Abdularazak said, “There was no reason why the contraband clothes should be brought into the country because of the health implications”, warning smugglers to desist from their acts or they will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law.

While calling on traditional rulers, clergies and parents to cushion their members and children against the evils of smuggling, the comptroller solicited their cooperation to enable the service to discharge it duty effectively in the state.