By Chioma Onuegbu
Nigeria Security officials under Joint Border Patrol team, JBPT, says from September 2020 to February 2021, it confiscated items worth five hundred and ninety four million naira in the South South and South East regions of the country.
Comptroller Shehu Abubakar and Coordinator of South/ South East Zone which is known as sector 1 disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen weekend in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
Abubakar warned smugglers and their sympathizers who see smuggling activities as means of livelihood to desist from such illicit transactions or be ready to face the law.
He advised those involved in import and export business in the zone to exploit Mfum land border in Cross River state reopened in December 2020 following approval of president Mohammadu Buhari, urging such persons to note that movements across the border are in full compliance to COVID-19 safety protocols and other travelling requirements.
His words, “The zone under the present leadership carried out series of coordinated intelligence and security operations which include; raiding of suspected shops, warehouses, stop and search operations, interception, of irregular migrants and contraband among others.
“All the seizures are all in line with the rules of engagement as enshrined in the section 147 and 151 of customs and excise management act cap. C45 LFN 2004 and they were all deposited in the respective government designated warehouses across the zone.
“The total monetary value of the confiscated items is about five hundred and ninety four million naira (#594,000,000). The sector 1 operatives are determined and won’t relent effort in ensuring that our markets are rid of prohibited foreign goods in line with the federal government policies on border closure”
The sector 1 Coordinator listed the items seized to include 9,693 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled Rice, 855 bags of 25kg foreign parboiled Rice; 28 bags of 10kg foreign parboiled Rice, 20 bags of 5kg foreign parboiled Rice, 374, 642 litres of petroleum products, 184 bags of 25kg Foreign fertilizer and 410 cartons of foreign poultry products
Other are 224 bales of fairly used foreign clothes 299 bags of 16ykg Indian hemp, 509 cartons of fake drugs, 16 vehicles detained while 4 seized, 507 roles of textile materials” 2 locally made pistols, 2,195 cartons of foreign cocoa butter; 438 cartons of ceramic stainless plates, 285 jerry cans of 25 litres of foreign vegetable oil, 161/25 litres of palm oil ;191 bags of white cement, 51 irregular migrants and 66 suspects.
“Other achievements recorded by the sector includes, drastic reduction in criminal activities such as sea robbery, kidnapping and violent attacks by pirates due to intensive patrol of the maritime frontier by operatives of JBOD/JBPT.
“It has also curbed smuggling of petroleum products from Nigeria to nearby countries which led to availability of products even during the Yuletide in littoral states, reduction in illegal migration through Mfum, Oron, Ikang and other unapproved entering points and reduction in the rate of bunkering activities.
“JBPT has also helped in reducing inter agency rivalry and strengthen collaboration amongst participating agencies and boost confidence of local Rice farmers which resulted in increased in local Rice production and consumption in the zone”, he noted.