By James Ogunnaike,
The Ogun Area 1 command of the Nigeria Customs Service, said it has seized contraband goods worth over N397,076,991 in the third quarter of year 2020.
The Ogun Area 1 Comptroller Michael Agbara disclosed this to newsmen during a briefing at the command headquarters in Idiroko, on Ipokia LGA of Ogun State.
He said, “it is worthy of note that the command during the third quarter of year 2020, successfully recorded 420 seizures comprising; 11,146 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50 kg each) an average of 18 trailer loads per month, 86 vehicles, 39 motorcycle (means of conveyance), 10 kegs of vegetable oil (25 liters each), 81 bales, 34 Sacks of secondhand clothing, one sack and 1,344 pairs of used shoes, 1,814 cartons of frozen poultry products.
Other seized items included; 299,450 liters of PMS (Petrol), 127 kegs of palm oil (25 liters each), 1,225 liters of diesel, 75 liters of kerosene, 363 pack of handbags, 17 cartons body cream, 12 bags by 50kg and 4 cartons of sugar, 37 sacks comprising 190 book size, 883 wraps and coconut size packs of cannabis sativa, 213 Pieces of used tyres, 24 sacks of pesticide, 210 sacks of black soap chemical, 6 packs of Ghana Soap, 8 cartons of imported soaps, 10,775 pieces of different types of plastic rubber, 410 pieces of textile (wrapper), 172 pairs of rubber slippers, 5 Sacks of alligator pepper, 186 cartons of crocodile machetes, 72 bundles of nylon, 3 bags and one sack of snuff, one sack of ladies bra, two wraps of ladies wears, six sacks of medicament, one carton imported perfumes, and 14 bales of cut length material.
“Total duty paid value of the above items is N397,076,991”.
Agbara assured that despite the precarious situation experienced by the Command, it will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on socio-economic implication of smuggling as well as performing statutory function of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies.
“We wish to reiterate that the continued attack on operatives of NCS and other sister agencies will not deter us from the continued performance of our legitimate duties”.
He appealed to parent and guardians to prevail on their children, wards and youths to desist from criminal acts such as smuggling and attack on security agencies.
“It is important to note that activities embarked upon by the Command is a patriotic duty in the interest of national security and economic wellbeing of Nigeria”.
“NCS operatives in observance of the rules of engagement will continue to carry out its legitimate duties as prescribed by the law”.
“We thank community leaders and other government agencies who are showing concern and are collaborating with the service for their continuous support”.
Speaking on the ordeal of the command during the recent #EndEARS protest that rocked the country, Agbara said, the command lost one of its officer, while some others sustained injuries.
Agbara said, “following the recent nationwide EndSARS protest hijacked by hoodlums and smugglers particularly at the border areas, our Area Command suffered several vicious attacks in which an officer, AIC Solomon Alayge was killed and others were injured”.
“In the early hours of Thursday, 22nd of October, 2020, many of our patrol teams were attacked, their patrol bases were vandalized and set ablaze. Our Officers and Men were trapped as a result of the multiple attacks suffered along Oja-Odan, Ilaro (along Ilaro/Oja- Odan/Obele border), Ihunbo, Adisba, Owode (along Idiroko axis), Ijoun and Imeko”.
“Many of our personnel’s belongings including uniforms and other valuables were looted. Many of our patrol vehicles were vandalized”.
“As what seems to be a premeditated action, the said hoodlums/smugglers in large number seized the opportunity of the security challenge which made all security agencies focused on protecting their operatives and facilities at that period embarked on massive smuggling of rice and vehicles for about three days”.
” However, the Command afterwards intensified effort by strengthening her workforce with reinforcement from the military. This assisted in beefing up security and restoring control in the Command”.
As a result of the control measures put in place, attempt by the hoodlums to attack our government warehouses at Idiroko and Abeokuta and other critical government facilities were resisted”.
“In the same vein, with bravery and gallantry of officers and men of the command coupled with the maximum support of the Military, the command recorded some seizures after the restoration of law and order across our borders”.
These included; 2,947 bags of rice, 1,875 litres of PMS, 18 units of vehicles, four units of motorcycles, ten sacks and 1,658 pieces of Cannabis sativa, 159 cartons of sugar, 30 cartons of tomato paste, 12 cartons of cosmetics and soaps, and 19 cartons of insecticide and seven kegs of vegetable oil (25 litres each