By Ifeyinwa Obi
The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has seized a bulletproof bullion van with registration number JR 958 EKY, belonging to one of the first-generation banks allegedly used for smuggling frozen food across the border.
The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Kura Maitama, said the command also foiled a desperate attempt by smugglers to use a waste truck belonging to Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to convey new textile materials across the border undetected.
Condemning the new trend of using vehicles belonging to reputable organisations and government agencies for illegal trade practices, Maitama said he was surprised that the management of the bank has not up till the moment responded to the seizure of their armored van.
“We have a suspect in our custody in connection with the attempt to smuggle with the LAWMA truck marked 1824 (M051-N).We are yet to know the quantity and the Duty Paid Value of the textile concealed in the truck covered with rubbish. It is painful that people could use government properties to smuggle, but my advise to them is that we must definitely have them in our trap one day . We are not relenting and we will not watch government loss revenue. We are at alert always”, he warned.
Speaking on other seizures made by the command, including a truck conveying over 300 cartons of drugs with a duty paid value of over N38 million, Maitama warned smugglers to stay away from the border as they would be exposed by his men.
He said with the approaching festive season, the border would confront greater challenges from smugglers and other unpatriotic Nigerians, but assured that his command was capable of handling the situation.
To ensure adequate manpower for the expected festivity-pushed smuggling activities, Maitama said he had not only recalled officers on leave, but also deferred the leave of others who are due for it.