By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has raised the alarm over the use of company vehicles to smuggle contraband into the country especially through the Benin – Nigeria borders within the Niger and Kogi State Command.
The command said in the last couple of weeks, not less than five company vehicles mostly heavy duty trucks have been impounded for smuggling banned foreign parboiled rice, second hand cloths and other prohibited goods into the country.
Most often, the drivers of the trucks fled leaving the vehicles and smuggled goods behind, the command said in a statement in Minna.
According to a statement signed by M I Jalo, the Deputy Controller Enforcement on behalf of the Area Customs Controller, Alhaji Abba Kassim Yussuf on Wednesday, a total of 1,940 bags of foreign parboiled rice with a value of N32,980,000 had been smuggled into the country with the company vehicles.
He said: “Just this week, the command seized another truck transporting 700 bags of foreign parboiled rice 50kg around Minna – Lambata -Suleja axis of the command worth N11,900,000
“Barely three days after the seizure, a truck with registration KRD425XMT loaded with 720 bags of foreign parboiled rice 50kg misconstrued to be transporting cement was intercepted along Bida – Minna road worth N12,240,000.”
It added that it had put in place strategies to free the command of illegal goods which has been yielding results.
According to Abba Kassim, “We are more determined than ever before to make the command uncomfortable for economic saboteurs as the command will henceforth beam its searchlight on trucks plying Niger/ Kogi area command terrain
“We are determined to implement the federal government’s policy encouraging consumption of home grown rice as it will not only create jobs for our teeming unemployed youths but will also improve the nations economy.”
He therefore warned those who want to take advantage of the Sallah period to bring banned goods into the country to shelve the idea as there will be no hiding place for them due to the new patrol strategies put in place.