AS part of its anti-smuggling activities in the country, the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has impounded eight trucks containing 5,085 bags of illegally imported par-boiled rice valued at N140m.
The consumables craftily loaded in officially approved bags of rice to deceive eagle eyed security operatives and customs men manning the nation’s highways , it was learnt were confiscated at the Agbor, Okpanam roads, Onitsha/Asaba road and Benin/Asaba road respectively.
The area controller of the FOU zone C, Mr. Dimka Victor who disclosed this at the premises of the Imo/Abia Area Command said that was the latest seizures made by the unit.
According to him, the five suspects arrested in connection with the deal were now in various detentions in Benin, Enugu and Calabar, adding that they were helping his men in their investigations,.
He informed that those already granted bail would soon appear in court pending when their cases would come up.
Appealing for cooperation from members of the public to enable the Nigeria Customs Service to rid the nation of the scourge of smuggling, he said that the service had entered into partnership with security agencies including the Directorate of State Services, DSS, and the police to strengthen its dragnet on smuggling.
Dimka expressed sadness that rice smugglers had resorted to using officially approved empty bags of rice to re-bag imported rice and ferry them to various parts of the country in order to remain afloat in business.
He however warned such fraudsters to desist from their obnoxious business as the NCS now boasts of properly trained intelligence unit well educated and mobilized to deal with them. Additionally, the FOU Zone C area Controller said that the NCS had established a harmonious working relationship with major genuine rice importers to checkmate the criminal activities of unauthorized rice importers who re-bag imported rice in officially approved bags to make money.
Dimka further warned that once arrested, both the owner of the vehicle carrying the contraband goods and the driver including his conductor would go in for it as prescribed by the law stressing that ignorance of such vehicles and drivers being involved in the business would not be tolerated.
“The story behind our success is round the clock support we receive from the Comptroller General of Customs Abdullahi Dikko Inde and the management and we have been trained and re-trained and our intelligence unit is at its best to meet our challenges,” he explained.