Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, yesterday said that smuggled foreign parboiled rice, used vehicles, textiles materials and Indian hemp valued at N30 billion have been seized from smugglers.
Also, the service’s antismuggling unit said it has arrested 44 smugglers in connection with some of the seizures.
The smuggled goods came from Benin Republic barely one month after Federal Government reopened the land borders for economic activities.
According to acting Comptroller Usman Yahaya, the contrabands were intercepted between January 1st and February 2021. Yahaya also said that the unit intercepted fake and unregistered pharmaceuticals valued at N51 million along Ijebu-Ode road, Ogun State and Indian hemp smuggled from Ghana to Iseyin in Oyo State.
He explained: “After the opening of Seme border by the Federal Government smugglers thought they could cash on it to perpetrate their evil act, but the unit left them with heavy losses as evidenced in the seizures.
“The unit intercepted and made a total of 142,677 seizures of different items: 41,652 bags of 50kilogrames (kg) smuggled parboiled rice from Idiroko, Ipokia, Imeko, Iseyin, Igbo-Ora and Seme; 1,356 bags of 25kg smuggled parboiled rice; 4,529kg of Indian hemp smuggled from Ghana to Iseyin in Oyo State worth N710 million; 66 packs of Tramadol and other un- registered pharmaceuticals products; 5,849 cartons of fake drugs; 266 units of means of conveyance and 218 used vehicles.”
Also intercepted include: 1,660 bales of textiles materials; 2,152 kegs of 25kg vegetable oil falsely declared at the seaport of Apapa and Tin-Can Island port and 6,985 cartons of frozen poultry products and 985 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
On the arrest, Yahaya said: “We arrested 44 suspects in connection with the seizures. But as a unit, we will continue to re-strategize to ensure that smugglers don’t have a hiding place. Instead of incurring losses, I will advise smugglers to embrace legitimate business and become responsible citizens.”