Additional 275 Edo indigenes arrive Benin from Libya

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…As Customs impounds N1.6bn Contraband goods in November

…13,333 bags of Christmas rice, hemp inclusive!

Not fewer than 275 Edo indigenes on Wednesday voluntarily arrived Benin from Libya with the help of the state government, even as more returnees are expected at the State capital, on Friday.

The Edo Attorney General and commissioner for Justice, Yinka Omorogbe told newsmen in Benin that out of the number 58 were girls, 2 infants and 215 boys.

Omorogbe, who is also the chairman of the Edo state task force on human trafficking, said they have received about 1,100 Edo indigenes from Libya between November and December.

She explained that rehabilitation process has commenced through giving them an on-the-spot medical attention to assess the level of their fitness.

“This is the seventh batch that we have so far received. We are going to keep them in the hotel for two nights after which we will reunite them with their families.

“Government has set up a programme to train them in different skills, and those who wish to return to school will be assisted to do so. In addition, government is also paying them monthly stipends for three months.”

According to the Attorney General, the problem of illegal migration is an international problem, adding that the state government would continue to rehabilitate those who voluntarily return home.

”A state drafted bill against trafficking in person is currently before the state house of assembly for consideration and passage”, she stated further.

In the meantime, the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) intercepted various contraband goods with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.59 billion between November 1 and November 30.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the unit, Comptroller Garba Mohammed, said this when he conducted newsmen round Customs’ warehouses in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to Mohammed, a total of 185 items were intercepted within the period under review.

“The command intercepted 64 units of various types of vehicles under detention; 13,333 bags of 50kg parboiled rice; 15 parcels of Indian hemp; 205 bales of second-hand clothing and 1,390 cartons of frozen poultry products.

“We intercepted 1,101 pieces of used tyres; 835 jerry cans of vegetable oil; 17 no. of 20ft containers suspected to be carrying wood under detention and 385 cartons of Tiffany cream biscuits.

“Also intercepted were: 2,300 cartons of Tiffany chocolate cream fudge and toffee sweet as well as 137 cartons of block engine cylinder,’’ he said.

The controller said that five suspects were apprehended along with the seizures, while one of the suspects had been released on administrative bail.

Mohammed said that some 50kg bags of rice were intercepted and discovered to have been locally-produced.

He said that the bags of rice were intercepted while being re-bagged to deceive Nigerians that the commodity was imported.

According to him, through Customs Intelligence, three bullet-proof jeeps were among the vehicles seized.

One of the suspects, Mr Adams Oghenegare, a driver with GPC Truck Transport Company, said he was apprehended by Customs at Otta, along Agbara area of Lagos.

Oghenegare said he loaded some 50kg bags of rice and used some cartons of Maggi to cover the consignment in order to deceive security agents.

The controller said that some owners of the 57 vehicles intercepted in Omole Estate, Lagos by officers of the unit had not come forward for identification in order to pay the duty and to release their vehicles.

Mohammed said that smuggled vehicles and rice through the land borders would attract outright seizure following the Federal Government’s directives.

He said that importation of groundnut oil was prohibited through land or sea.

Mohammed commended the Comptroller-General of customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali and the entire management team for providing the necessary logistics that brought about this feat.

He also commended the media for their continued support and for using their medium in sensitising the public on the effects of smuggling on the nation’s economy.

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