Hard time awaits the dare-devil smugglers operating in Ogun, as operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Ogun Area Command are battle-ready for economic saboteurs and their nefarious activities this ember month.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Agbara Ojobo Michael, disclosed this yesterday, showing outstanding records in revenue, as the Command raked a whooping sum of N1.1billion into the coffers of Federal Government, in the month of November 2018 alone.
Most remarkable is the fact that, the N1.1billion generated this period is out of a monthly target of N727,775,499,91 showing that the Command exceeded its revenue target with over N401,344,423,89.
The CAC said, “The revenue collection in November is the highest for this year and we would continue to carry out our statutory functions effectively.”
Comptroller Michael warned unrepentant smugglers to desist from illicit business in Ogun, or risk seizure of their goods, arrest and prosecution, as his Command would leave no stone unturned in sending economic saboteurs to jail.
He warned, “Ogun is a no-go area for smugglers. Smugglers must avoid Ogun if they want to be at peace, as we would not hesitate to arrest and prosecute those working against government’s policy”.
The CAC stressed, “Our anti-smuggling feat in November is a blow to smugglers and also a sound of warning to those who have dubious intention to exploit the avenue of yuletide period for smuggling. Our men are strategically positioned to decisively truncate such malicious intentions”.
Our correspondent observed that the seized items were seen everywhere in Customs premises at Idiroko, even as the warehouse was filled to the brim with foreign rice, as well as other items intercepted by the Command.
Also, seized vehicles were packed everywhere at Customs premises. These include a brand new Toyota Hilux (2018 model), smuggled in through the bush path but intercepted by the Command, a new Tipper brought in from Benin Republic by smugglers on a pretence of carrying sand but seized, as the driver absconded, Lexus Jeep and many other vehicles.
In the area of anti-smuggling, Ogun Command made seizures of 6,015 bags of foreign rice (50kg each), 67 units of vehicles, 119 kegs of vegetable oil (25liters each), 171 pairs of used foot wears, seven bales of secondhand clothing, 30 cartons of poultry products, and another 15 bales of secondhand clothing, with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N395,118,058.
The Command in supporting government’s policy on agriculture to boost local rice production redoubled its effort and recorded seizure of 44,615 bags of smuggled rice, as at ending of November 2018, which is almost multiple of 21,789 bags of foreign rice seized from January to December, 2017, comparatively.
His assertion, “The Comptroller-General of Customs has graciously approved four new patrol vehicles for the Command, so as to complement the existing ones for effective manning of our borders against security, economic and environmental saboteurs”.
He enthused, “We commend the patriotic collaboration and tremendous assistance we always receive from our sister agencies, traditional leaders, some host communities and the media, in our resolute drive against smuggling in the overall interest of our great nation, Nigeria”.
Responding to questions from news men at the Command, the CAC expressed strong displeasure on the use of motorcycles, popularly known as Okada to smuggle rice along Idiroko, saying his Command is tackling the menace with intelligence-driven approach.
He frowned, “The number of motorcycles being used to smuggle foreign rice is alarming, notwithstanding the risk associated with it. So, we are deploying intelligence in curtailing it. Instead of chasing Okada smugglers, we trace them to their ware houses and evacuate the items. We are working 24 hours including Sundays to protect our economic environment, especially this yuletide season”.