By Chinonso Alozie
The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ’C’ FOUC, on Monday said it intercepted contraband worth N1.6 billion and arrested nine suspects in connection with the seizures.
The FOUC, Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah, disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri.
He mentioned the separate locations where the operation took place that led to the seizures, which include Umeikaa/Aba Road, Okada-Benin Expressway, Benin/Asaba/Onitsha Expressway, Ewu-Auchi Expressway among others.
On how the customs was able to breakthrough, FOUC said it was based on prompt intelligence and sting operation.
Among the products, materials seized, FOUC, said: “In its drive to curb smuggling within its areas of jurisdiction, the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ’C’ has intercepted cannabis sativa, raw materials for production of explosive devices, as well as other contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of One Billion, Six Hundred and Forty-Eight Million, Four Hundred and Ninety-Four Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-One Naira (N1,648,494,571.00) only.
“The Zone also arrested nine (9) suspects in connection with the seizures within the period under review ( July 25 to September 23rd 2023). The Acting Comptroller, FOUC, DC Kayode Kolade, said this at the Government Warehouse, Aduwawa, Benin City, Edo state, on Monday.
“Kolade, who frowned at the spate of smuggling in the Zone however said that he successfully recovered the sum of Fifty-Four Million, Two Hundred and Forty-four Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy One Naira (54,244,571.00)only from demand notices raised based on some infractions noticed, making a cumulative sum of One Billion, Six Hundred and Thirty-Four Million, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Four Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-One Naira (N1,634,794,571.00) only within the months under review.
“In addition to the 417 sacks of cannabis sativa also known as Indian hemp weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of same Indian hemp 1kg each totaling 627kg, and 9 sacks 50kg each of explosives’ raw materials, he listed other seized products to include 1,329 bags, 50kg each of smuggled foreign parboiled rice ; 5 cartons of DSP Cough Syrup with codeine 100mg containing 1000 bottles ; 1 unit of armored Bullion Van ; 761 jumbo bales of second hand clothing ; 883 cartons of various unregistered/expired medicaments including tramadol; 100 cartons of various wines; 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres ; 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste; 300 cartons of foreign spaghetti.
“ Based on prompt intelligence and sting operation, the rice was intercepted along Calabar/Akwa Ibom axis and okada/benin expressway, the 417 sacks and 627 parcels of Indian hemp were intercepted at Okada-Benin and Ewu-Auchi Expressway respectively. 761 Jumbo bales of used clothing mostly concealed in trucks and buses were intercepted along Umeikaa/Aba Road and Okada-Benin road.
“ The 5 cartons of DSP cough syrup with codeine, and 883 cartons of unregistered medicaments were intercepted along Benin/Asaba/Onitsha Expressway.
The armored Bullion Van without customs documents and End User Certificate was intercepted along Okada/Benin Expressway. 100 cartons of wine and 335 tomatoes paste were intercepted along Ewu/Ibilo axis, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres were also intercepted along Cross River waterside and Okada-Benin Expressway, “he said.
He continued: “More worrisome is the interception of 9 sacks 50kg each of explosive materials (fertilizer , device cables and super power 90 chemicals). We all know the security implication if these explosives components get to their destination unchecked. It may interest you to know that Superpower 90 is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting. The high detonation velocity and the robust nature of Superpower 90 make it an ideal primer for the initiation of column charge. Lets us not just imagine if dynamites and landmines are detonated using these items “, he said.
“He seized the opportunity to congratulate the Ag. Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi MFR on his appointment to oversee the affairs of the service describing it as “well deserved considering his pedigree, dedication and commitment to the service.”