Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Coordinator of the Joint Border Drill Operations in the North Central zone of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, yesterday said two suspected smugglers, who attacked men of the operations, have been arrested during which N91.4million worth of smuggled items were impounded.
He also expressed deep concern over incessant attacks on the officers by smugglers during which the operational vehicle was severely damaged in an head-on collision in the recent operation.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin at a news conference held at the state Command of NCS yesterday, Garba, however, said they would not be deterred by the onslaughts of the smugglers to perform their duties of protecting the economy of the country from being destroyed by their activities.
He said: “I want to express my displeasure over the spate at which the smugglers and their sympathisers attack our officers at will for carrying out their constitutional duties. Our officers were almost lynched with stones and machetes at Dogo-Ogbomosho axis; our official vehicles were not spared either.
“Attacking our officers will not deter the sector from performing its legitimate duties. I want to warn those disgruntled elements to desist as such act will no longer be tolerated.”
Garba also said the officers are always ahead of the antics of the smugglers, adding that “smugglers have now devised the means of using tipper sand, tricycls, toilet papers, electronic gadgets, vehicle spear parts, salt and even water melon to conceal rice.
“I want to make this clear to security, economic and environmental saboteurs that any method /trick adopted or used will continue to be an effort in futility as they will always meet their waterloo irrespective of technique they used.”
He said the seized items in the last 18 days have a worth of N91, 490, 140, and were recorded around Chikanda, Kontagora, Jebba, Mokwa, Alapa and Mandalla areas.
The items included 1,433 bags of foreign rice concealed in bags of salt and water melon; 56 units of various types of used vehicles; 30 bales of second hand clothing, 200 units of used tyres among others.