…As Binga celebrates the Commissioning of ‘Customs Pride’, ‘Group of Nine’***
The Western Marine Command, an anti-smuggling marine arm of Nigeria Customs Service based in Lagos waylaid contrabands sneaking into Lagos, through the Bar Beach, with a Duty Paid Value of N32, 410,125, even as the Head of the Command, Boyilila N Binga warns illicit traders that gone are the days, when smugglers enjoyed field day, on the nation’s waters.
Binga, who was represented by the Acting Deputy Comptroller, Enforcement, CSC Ariyibi highlighted this today in Lagos, putting the value of the impounded contraband goods at N24,007,500, while the Duty was N8,402,625.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Western Marine Command, Comptroller Binga reminded the potential smugglers, that the Command was now well equipped and fully motivated by last Thursday’s commissioning of two sea-going vessels, the ‘Group of Nine’ and the ‘Customs Pride’, by the Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC Ali Hameed, stressing that the officers presently enjoy fresh impetus to tackle smuggling on the waterways.
Fielding questions, Binga stated that smuggled poultry items were seized along Badagry axis by officers on duty, saying his officers acted on intelligence reports; and thus waited patiently for the smugglers to sail in and get clamped upon.
“What we have here, is about 3000 plus; all abandoned.
“We cannot ride into the deep sea, if we can, we will get the culprits. But for now , we will just wait for them; so that when they come in, we pick them.
“So, what happened was that, we took them by surprise; and when they saw us, they jumped into the shallow water over there and escaped through the mangrove. We decided not to pursue them into the mangrove. We don’t want anybody dying! It is better for us to get this, than to get after them, in the mangrove!
“That is why I said that we are now, adequately prepared for them.
“They came in from the high sea, in their very high big boat, thinking we cannot get them. But we have to maneuver, after working through intelligence, we were able to get them at the point where we got them.
“The measure we are putting in the place for now is that we go right into the deep sea to meet them there, where they cannot escape.
“What we used to do is that we normally wait for them at a particular point where we know our boat can get through, but now with our new vessels, we will be getting them on the high sea. And we can always get them back with us.
“You don’t compare a Volkswagen beetle engine with a Royce rolls engine. We have just commissioned two powerful vessels, courtesy of the Government, the CGC and the management. The vessels are Royce rolls engine-propelled Vessels. So, you can’t compare them at all. Believe it, within the next couple of days now, you will see them on the high sea. We have started already, and we will make sure they are there, so you should know that they will certainly enhance our mobility, fastness!
“The land border closure is for our benefits in Nigeria, the Government has pronounced it and so shall it be… perfectly leaving us to –pick them out easily, on the high sea!”, he concluded.
The smuggled poultry was later destroyed, in the presence of the media.