From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Barely one week after the Federal Government announced plans to shut all land borders to stem smuggling, the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it intercepted about 3,000 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice being smuggled into the country.
The five-trailer load of rice, with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N42 million, was concealed in containers and trucks belonging to corporate organisations but intercepted by the NCS Comptroller-General’s strike force on smuggling, acting on intelligence.
Zonal Commander of the Zone ‘A’ Taskforce, Mr. Salisu Assaba Bullah, disclosed that the interception was made at Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, and two suspects taken into custody after the unit gathered intelligence on a new method of rice smuggling.
According to him, the taskforce got “intelligence report that container-laden trucks were taken to the border area, loaded with smuggled rice and sealed as if released from the seaport.”
He attributed the success of their operations to the efforts of members of the team, as well as the nine brand new pick-up vans that the unit received as government pushes to strengthen anti-smuggling operations.
The Federal Government, while recently announcing a release of N1.6 billion for the procurement of 68 brand new operational vehicles for customs, had acknowledged that the ones available were grossly inadequate for effective anti-smuggling activities.
According to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the move was to aid the NCS to effectively patrol and suppress smuggling across the national borders and increase revenue collection consequently.
Meanwhile, Bullah advised smugglers to engage in legitimate business and shun ventures that only sabotage the economy and endanger lives.