Ahead of the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly elections in the country, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), intercepted smuggled military camouflage and 450 units of explosive making chemical also known as carbide.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos, the acting controller of the unit, Hussein Ejibunu, said the 68 pieces of smuggled military wares were seized in January and 47,750 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), worth N517.9million.
Ejibunu, a deputy comptroller of customs, also handed over seized 2,135 wraps of marijuana weighing 1,163 kg to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) said the unit is out to tackle the economic menace caused by recalcitrant importers and agents.
Other seizures made in January 2023 were 5,481 units of 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, equivalent to over 9 trailer loads; 314 pieces of used tyres; 11 units of used motorcycles; 13 units of used vehicles and 450 units of 106 kg drums of carbide on detention
He said, “We did not only re-strategise our operations but our officers are urged to be more professional, and are keyed into the Service’s Standard Operations Procedure (SOP); aimed at facilitating legitimate trade.
“In doing this, we are assuring all compliant traders and importers that they have nothing to fear. While the recalcitrant ones are advised to desist because we are better mobilized with high morale to arrest, prosecute, and make them loose their wares in forfeiture to the federal government.
“Seizures recorded in January 2023 are a reflection of officers’ commitment to duty, and no compromise posture in the discharge of our statutory responsibilities; aimed at protecting the national economy and preventing the importation of prohibited, and harmful goods.
“These goods were intercepted along the border corridors of the south-west for contravening different customs laws. Eleven suspects were arrested in connection with some of the wares. While the Federal High Court had convicted 3 people for the crime of smuggling.
“Considering the spate of insecurity across the country, and the upcoming general elections; it can be postulated that the importation of Indian Hemp, and military camouflage could be used to fuel crimes and electoral violence by unpatriotic elements. while the former is under prohibition, the latter are under the control and supervision of the Office of the National Security Adviser, which requires End-User Certificates.
“Members of the public are hereby, enjoined to key into the prevailing security concerns by providing useful, and timely information that would expose and lead to the arrest of the enemies of the state,” he said
The controller noted that N86,117,398.50 was recovered as revenue from the unit into the federationn account through the issuance of demand notices (DN) on customs duties that were discovered to be underpaid by importers
He said the goods were intercepted along the border corridors of the south-west.
Ejibunnu, however, handed over the seized cannabis sativa to an official of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Speaking after receiving the contrabands, an assistant commandant, Narcotics, Moshood Aluko, said the agency would do its best to cover up the black spots that aids these consignments in coming into the country.
“From what the controller said there is a black spot everywhere we have to start, track and educate them. The volume is too much and we don’t expect much to be in circulation. We are grateful to customs if not if this size of cannabis is found in the system it is not good, it can lead to mental disorders. You know in fighting drug abuse and menace a lot of stakeholders are involved,” he pointed out.