Nigeria Customs Service’s (NCS) Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, yesterday said it has intercepted 42 drums of calcium carbide smuggled into the country from Benin Republic. The contrabands were concealed with cassava tubers and flakes in a truck. Acting Customs Area Controller of the unit, Comptroller Usman Yahaya, said in Lagos that apart from calcium carbide, the unit also seized contraband worth N3.1 billion and raised Demand Notice (DN) worth N242 million against importers. He explained that the service was backed by section 158 of Customs Excise and Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45,LFN 2004 as amended to patrol and search everywhere without restriction, while section 147 of the same CEMA empowered the service to enter any premises without a search warrant provided there was credible information about contraband deposited there in the house.
Security experts had warned that if calcium carbide get into the hands of criminals, it could be used as explosives to bring down a building, especially when some chemical components were added to it. Yahaya noted: “Within the period February 9, 2021 till date, the unit recorded seizures of 20,538 bags of foreign parboiled rice; 3,106 cartons of frozen poultry product; 1,488 kegs of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) at 25 litres each; 1,035 bales of second-hand clothing, 77 cartons of tin tomatoes; 2,843.6 kg of Indian Hemp; 877 bundles of printed wax/textile materials; 29 different brands of used vehicles; 2,969 cartons of Eva soap; 42 drums of calcium carbide (explosives); 549 cartons of Tramadol and 12 units of used motorcycles with DPV of N 3.1billion.”
He noted that the unit acted on credible intelligence that the explosives were smuggled into the country through the porous borders under the Ogun State command of the service. The comptroller said: “We intercepted the 42 drums of calcium carbide through intelligence gathering. They thought with the concealment, they can evade the eagle eye of our officers.