In line with the policy of the Federal Government to ensure growth of local industries through ban on imported frozen products, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted a 40-foot truck conveying alcoholic beverage loaded with 3,328 cartons of imported poultry items into the country. The Command further arrested two suspects in connection with the seizures, even as the truck used for conveyance was seized.
The remarkable seizures estimated at the monetary value of N18million were concealed with cartons of alcoholic beverage by smugglers to escape security checks, but the men of FOU who operated with high intelligence network uncovered the prohibited items.
Conducting pressmen round the seizures, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of FOU Zone- A, Comptroller Dahiru Umar, said investigations were on-going to ascertain the level of involvement of the suspects before charging them to court, and to know the degree of complicity of the truck owners in such unlawful act.
He said, “The seizures were affected at different locations within the flashpoints under the supervisory authority of the Unit. The Unit is working very hard to change its modus operandi to suit the exigencies of the moment, and to ensure that FOU remains on top of smugglers antics in all ramifications, particularly in terms of enhanced intelligence network. The renewed strategy led to the interception of an articulated truck suspected to be used in conveying large quantity of smuggled poultry products. The team leader is a highly committed officer, whose contributions to the seizure profile of the Unit cannot be quantified”.
Umar also spoke overwhelmingly on the operational readiness of his Command to deal decisively with smugglers, in line with the vision of the current Customs management. He stressed, “The Unit has been a thorn in the flesh of smugglers. Smugglers must expect a tougher onslaught on them because we cannot afford to fail in the discharge of our statutory mandate of suppressing smuggling. I commenced courtesy visits to Heads of critical security agencies of government, so that we can form a formidable front in the fight against smuggling. I advice smugglers in this Zone to invest their money in more legitimate businesses, because the more you smuggle, the more we seize. We also call on the public to oblige us with useful information on the activities of smugglers”.
Meanwhile, Umar also got reassurance of operational intelligence and other support from Nigeria Police in the fight against smuggling, following the visits he made to Police Chiefs as part of the measures to increase inter-service synergy between FOU Zone ‘A’ and the Police. The CAC who noted the long standing relationship between NCS and the Police, said inter-agency cooperation will increase the level of security in the society.
He said, “The visit was intended to reinforce an existing relationship between both organisations and to form a common front in suppressing crimes. I commend the Police Chiefs for curtailing crimes in Lagos. Apart from seizing prohibited items, we are also charged with the responsibility of preventing dutiable goods from evading accurate duty payment. The Police has demonstrated selfless assistance to Customs in this regard.” The Assistant Inspector General, in charge of Zone 2, Bala Hassan and the Commissioner of Police Lagos State Command, Fatai Owoseni, who received Umar in their offices gave assurances of Police support and cooperation to him in Lagos. Hassan who commended Umar for standing tall in the fight against smuggling and other illegalities pledged the Police cooperation whenever it is required. He described the Customs as part of the Police family deserving to be supported in the Police drive for a crime free society. Owoseni described Customs and Police relationship as symbiotic, saying Customs is sensitive to the national economy with its revenue collection and trade facilitation roles. ‘’We know that sometimes when robbers snatch vehicles, they want to go through the borders and we know you have men at the borders, so we need ourselves’’ Owoseni said.