The Ogun 1 Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has made seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N311,924,551.92, including 3154 (50kg) bags of imported parboiled rice, the equivalent of 5 trailer loads, as part of its rigorous anti-smuggling operations.
Additionally, the import taxes and auction sales of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) seized from traffickers brought in N13,848,370 for the Command.
During a press conference in Idiroko, Ogun State, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Bamidele Makinde, announced that two Dangote trucks used as means of transportation had also been seized.
According to Makinde, “A truck with Lagos State registration number EKY 971 YE belonging to the Dangote group of companies was intercepted along Ibeshe road, Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, in the early hours of Sunday, August 21, 2022, loaded with 75 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50 kg each concealed with 900 bags of Dangote cement.
“Another Dangote truck with Kano State registration no. BCH 531 XA loaded with 228 bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice of 50 kg each concealed with some bags of Dangote cement along Lafenwa. Abeokuta axis. Ogun State in the early hours of today, 23rd August 2022”.
The CAC told Newsmen that if such quantity of rice had found its way into the Nigerian market, it would have harmed the Federal Government Rice Policy aimed at providing staple food at affordable prices and employment to jobless citizens.
Several other seizures recorded in their various quantities within the month of July include: 150 pieces of used compressors; eight units of vehicles and six units of motorcycle used as means of conveyance; 153 bales and 68 sacks of used clothing; 79 sacks of used shoes; three cartons and 220 pieces of foreign wine; 301 pieces of used tyres; 724 kegs (25 litres each) amounting to 18.100 litres; 310 cartons of frozen poultry products, and 16 sacks of used bags.
Speaking on stakeholder engagement and the Command’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, he said aside from the proactive operations in checking illicit trade in Idirako Border, the Command also engages in non-kinetic activities whose objective is to make the area conducive for economic activities to thrive.
Comptroller Makinde explained further: “Currently, the Command’s football club (known as Customs FC) which has been in existence for decades was promoted from the Nigeria Nationwide League, division three (3) to division two (2) on 19th July 2022 Presently, youths from the various border communities across the state constitute a majority of its players (about 18 of them).
“Another six (6) of its players are natives of different states of the nation and Republic of Benin, while only eight (8) of its players are officers of Nigeria Customs Service. One of its coaches (a native of ljebu Ode in Ogun State). Mr Fatai Biliyu is currently undergoing a training at the National Institute for Sports, Surulere, Lagos State for one (1) year advance coaching course, being sponsored by Nigeria Customs Service.
“One of the advantages derivable from the football club is to keep the youth (native players from the border communities) engaged so that they may stay away from illicit and criminal activities while ensuring that they earn a living.
In addition, with the recent promotion to Division 2 of the National League, the prospect of its promotion to Division! and ultimately to the Premier League is high.
“I wish to add that, the mission and vision of the Command are to groom international players of repute and enviable status which will consequently, be a glory for their respective communities”.
He reassured the legitimate business communities of its maximum cooperation for trade facilitation, adding that such persons are free to contact the service for any trade related information, enquiry as well as complaints.
The CAC however, warned criminal elements in the state to steer clear of smuggling activities.
“The Command remained resolute to its mandate of suppression of smuggling and other illicit activities inimical to the economic growth of our great country. Nigeria. We shall foil any nefarious activities, make arrest and prosecute anyone caught in illicit acts.
“We implore well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians to cooperate with us by providing useful information against economic sabotage for the sake of our dear nation’s development”, he added.
Comptroller Makinde thanked the CGC., Col. Hamid Ali (Rtd) and his management team for their continuous support which has been enhancing the Command’s performance.
He also appreciated gallant officers and men of the Command, critical stakeholders, other security agencies and traditional rulers for their continuous collaborative efforts and synergy with the Service while carrying out its statutory mandate in the state.