Maritime

Customs in Owerri impounds contraband worth N500m

Border closure: Customs impounds thousands of ammunition, 1072 vehicles, over 19,000 bags of smuggled rice
Written by Maritime First

…As Customs in Enugu intercepts live ammunitions, illicit drugs***

The Federal  Operations Unit Zone ‘C’, an anti smuggling arm of Nigerian Customs Service in Owerri has impounded contraband goods worth about N500 million.

Deputy Controller of Customs and National Coordinator, Controller General Strike Force, Mr Abdullahi kirawa disclosed this to journalists on Thursday in Benin, identifying some of the items as over 5000 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice, 21 vehicles and 1,000 used tyres, used clothes, foot wears and hard drugs.

He also revealed that the period during which the seizures were made spanned February and early August.

Others also impounded were 125 bales of used clothes and foot wears and bags of  Indian hemp consealed in a salon car.

He said that the customs operatives, through intelligence reports, discovered and carried out the seizures largely through the creeks and land borders.

While reiterating the commitment of the NCS to ridding the country of contraband and smugglers, he advised Nigerians to take advantage of the agricultural incentives of the Federal Government rather than engage in smuggling.

The Zonal Commander, Asst. Controller Kolade Kayode,  said the NCS would continue its crack down on saboteurs.

He advised smugglers to desist from their nefarious activities, saying that the Customs would not relent in its fight against smuggling.

Meanwhile the Nigeria Customs Service operatives in Enugu have intercepted live cartridges and ammunition, illicit drugs and other items found in its absolute prohibition list of consumables in Enugu.

The Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Mr Abdullahi Kirawa confirmed this in Enugu on Thursday while briefing newsmen on the activities of the Comptroller-General of Custom’s (CGC) Strike Force in the South-East.

Kirawa said that the contraband goods were at various times intercepted at 9th Mile Corner in Enugu, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, and along the Enugu-Aba Expressway.

Kirawa, who paraded the driver and owner of the vehicle conveying the live cartridges and illicit drugs, said that the CGC Strike Force in-charge of Zone ‘C’ recorded the seizures, following intelligence from well-meaning Nigerians.

He said that the team, following a tip-off, laid siege on the vehicle with registration number XD 786 GWA and apprehended it at 9th Mile Corner.

The deputy comptroller said that none of the drugs and other goods in the vehicle were certified by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

He named some of the seized items as 375 AAA live cartridge ammunition, 325 cartons of Eva Soap, 13 cartons of drugs and injections and three bags of assorted drugs, including Tramadol.

Others are 39 cartons of creams and lotions, six cartons of tiger portable gasoline power generating sets, eight cartons of tiger head batteries and 1,243 pieces of used tyres.

The rest are 196 bales of secondhand clothing and 2,010 pieces of hide and skins.

Kirawa said that the suspects who were arrested with the live ammunition and illicit drugs had been in their custody since July 19, adding that investigation was still ongoing.

He said that the suspects who claimed not to be the owners of the seized items would volunteer information that would lead to the arrest of the original owners.

He said that the suspects would be charged to court after investigations.

On the hide and skin, the deputy comptroller said that they were intercepted at the point of export at the airport.

Kirawa, however, did not volunteer any information on the whereabouts of the owners of the hides and skin, used tryes and second-hand clothing.

Meanwhile, the alleged owner of the vehicle conveying the live cartridges and illicit drugs from Onitsha to Taraba, Mr Polycarp Agubata, said he knew nothing about the seized goods.

Agubata said that he was tricked to Enugu where his vehicle was intercepted and subsequently arrested by Customs officers.

“I have a driver that makes use of the vehicle. I do not work in the loading bay and as such, was not part of those that loaded the items in the vehicle.

“I received a call that fateful day that I should proceed to Enugu where my car was parked and on getting there, I was arrested and handcuffed.”

Agubata said that the owners of those items were in Taraba and had been contacted but they refused to come.

The driver of the vehicle, Mr Suleiman Alkasdim, said that he was not present when the goods were loaded.

Alkassim said that the goods were owned by different persons.

 

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Maritime First