From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
Four suspects have been arrested by officers of the Kano/Jigawa Customs Area Command in connection with the smuggling of over 1500 bags of foreign rice, 500 jerrycans of prohibited vegetable oil, bales of textile materials, second-hand clothes and a truck-load of prohibited suitcases valued at over N60 million.
The Comptroller of the Command, Nasir Ahmed, who spoke to journalists in Kano on Wednesday, warned smugglers stay clear from Kano/Jigawa axis or be prepared to face the wrath of the law.
He also extols the gallantry of his officers and men who facilitated the seizures, with the combined efforts of the Comptroller-General of Customs Anti-Smuggling Taskforce and the Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU).
According to him, the seizures were made at various border towns and entry points, adding that four suspects were arrested during the raid that lasted for one week.
“Today, we are trying to show how many bags of rice we have been able to seize in the last one week. We have a total number of 1500 bags of rice with a DPV of N49 million.
“These bags of rice were smuggled by using small vehicles and we have a total number of 31 vehicles, with two motorcycles.
“We have close to 500 jerrycans of vegetable oil with a duty pay value of N5 million. The issue of rice is becoming a recurring decimal; and with the support of the headquarters, and the Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU), crack officers from the Command were marching the smugglers inch by inch; and we will keep marching them inch by inch until we run them out of the business of smuggling rice.
“The rice and vegetable were intercepted at various areas, the various entry points into Kano,” he stated.
The Customs boss added that, “the truck-load of suitcases was brought in this morning from the Malam Fatori, along Niger-Nigerian border. The truck contains bags of suitcases and suitcases are under prohibition into Nigeria. You cannot be imported them.”
Aaccording to him, “we have four suspects in detention as we speak and we are going to prosecute them. There is no doubt about that. Just yesterday, I signed a bail paper brought to me by the legal officer, because they are entitled to bail.
“We are not just arresting the rice and the vehicles; we are also arresting the smugglers. You see, number one thing the smuggler does is to run immediately he sights officers, and they normally abandon their vehicles, but this time around, we are able to pursue some of them and we have some of them in detention, we have given bail to some of them, and we are going to prosecute them.”
He, however, said the bags of seized rice and other items are donated for the welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“Normally, by the presidential directive, the bags of rice go to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Last week, we loaded well over 3000 bags of rice out of here to the IDPs in Yobe and Borno,” he added.