In compliance with order by President Muhammadu Buhari on the total blockage of the nation’s land borders, the Joint Border Operations (JBOD) Sector 3 covering North Central States (Niger/Kwara/Kogi and Benue States) under the leadership of Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba has continued to make the Zone unfavorable for smugglers operating within the zone.
These operations have led to 44 seizures from March, 2020 till date.
This is contained in a statement issued by the State Public Relations Officer of the Command, Chado Zakari.
According to the statement, the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Section- 147 gives power to Customs officers to search and raid any premises suspected to house with smuggled goods.
The statement added that the headquarters’ roving team comprising Nigerian Customs Officers, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Immigration Service, DSS, Nigerian Police and other security agencies involved in this National assignment were recently drafted to a warehouse at Abayawo Area of Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State suspected to have been stockpiled with foreign parboiled rice.
“The store was raided and a total of 450 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each was discovered to have been smuggled into the State.
“They were stored in a residential apartment. The smuggled rice was immediately evacuated to Customs warehouse, Ilorin.
“The Customs is still trailing those involved in the criminal act,” the Statement read.
The Statement explained further that in the early hours of Thursday, the roving team also stormed ITA-MERIN Area of Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State, while smugglers were in the process of offloading the smuggled rice into a residential quarters.
The area was immediately condoned according to the statement and the rice was evacuated to Customs House, Ilorin; after an examination was conducted, a total of 224 bags of rice was discovered.
The Joint Border Operations have a breakdown of the seized goods within the period under review to include, 1,657 Bags of foreign parboiled rice, which brought the total number of seized bags of rice from August last year to 14,813 Bags of 50Kg each which is equivalent to twenty-two (22) Trailers of Rice with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of 451, 685. 900, 282 Kegs of Vegetable oil, 898 Drums of AGO, 1355 Jerry Cans of Petroleum Product, 348 Bundles of Textile Materials, 28 Bags of foreign fertilizer, 66 Cartons of different brand of Beers, 26 Units of Vehicles, 8 Motor Cycles
“This has brought the total seizure of the Sector from August 2019 to ninety-six (96) with duty paid value (DPV) 1, 041, 082, 880. 00 with 45 suspects,” the statement added.
The Sector Co-ordinator further reiterated its stand that there was no retreat in the fight against smuggling in whatever disguise and therefore appealed to the general public to embrace legitimate means of livelihood and to avoid smuggling in all its ramifications, warning that the sector is combatant ready to halt all the activities of economic saboteurs who want to perpetrate their illicit acts.
The Co-ordinator also declared that the sector will ensure that the maximum revenue collection is made through the appropriate channel of the Service as directed by the Comptroller of Customs Service, Colonel Hammed Ali (rtd).
He added that the Sector 3 is committed and determined not to fail in actualizing the goals of the Service, which is to stem the activities of smugglers:
“The policy of the present administration on suppression of smuggling activities, blockage of revenue leakages and maximum revenue generation without compromising national interest and security of the country is strictly adhered to.
“The complete closure of our land borders as directed by Mr. President is fully in force as no stone is left unturned.
“Our effort in implementing such orders has led to repatriation of several illegal immigrants.”
To this end, the Co-ordinator assured that the Officers and Men of Joint Border Operations (JBOD) Sector 3 will not relent in their efforts to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum.
Despite announcement by Mr. President on total lockdown of some States and the total closure of both the nation’s Airport and land border to avoid the spread of the COVID-19, some diehard smugglers defy the order and continue to carry out their nefarious activities.
Few days into the lockdown order amidst COVID-19 pandemic, the Joint Border Operations Drill Sector 3 has intensified anti-smuggling operations in the zone with a view to curtailing activities of economic saboteurs.