Border closure: Nigerian forces intercepts rice smugglers network

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NIGERIA Customs Service, NCS, Katsina and Niger/Kogi area commands have intercepted a total of 1057 bags of 50kg foreign rice.

While Katsina command intercepted a total of 765 bags, its Niger/Kogi sister command landed a total of 292 bags of the contraband commodity.

Commander in charge of NCS Drill 4 Sector comprising Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto, Assistant Comptroller General, Bashir Abubakar gave the hint about current efforts aimed at tracking the actual barons and promoters of smuggled rice in Katsina recently, during a joint press briefing with the Customs Area Controller, Katsina Command, Abdullahi Musa Kirawa.

Although six suspects arrested in connection with the alleged smuggling of the 765 bags of foreign rice, including 561 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 213 cartoons of noodles and 35 belts of second hand clothes were made, Abubakar disclosed that the service is drilling the suspects with a view to tracking, arresting and prosecuting the chief promoters of these economic sabotage.

Also speaking, the new Katsina Customs boss appealed to those still nursing the idea of smuggling and other forms of economic sabotage to have a rethink and embrace legitimate trade, noting that Customs will continue to do its job of ensuring that no prohibited goods enters into the command.

“We will also maintain zero tolerance for whatever infraction is detected in customs trade, so my appeal is that whoever is bringing in anything prohibited will meet me and my officers and men, and whoever thinks he can cheat government of its revenues through sharp practices will also find us waiting for them. They should change or continue to count their loses; it is one of the two, it is a choice,” Kirawa said.

Meanwhile, the Niger/Kogi area command has again displayed professional dexterity as its operatives busted yet again an ingenuous decoy by smugglers to bring in 292x50kg bags of foreign rice. The commodity contained in an IVECO truck was concealed with sugarcane in order to beat the officers on routine patrol.

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The Niger/Kogi customs area controller, Comptroller Yusuf Abbah-Kassim explained that said truck had two different registration plate numbers XD 146 LSD, in front, and XD 146 SLD, behind, as at the time it was intercepted along Dikko-Suleja-Abuja road in Niger State

The customs area boss who spoke through his Public Relations Officer, Mr. Lomba Benjamin disclosed that the arresting patrol team was led by ASC I Mohammed Bature, based on intelligence.

The Duty Paid Value of the rice was put at N4, 964,000. Abbah-kassim expressed surprise that despite remaining a step ahead of these smugglers and the regular seizures of their illicit cargo that has continued to dig deep into their wall chest of funds, they have refused to back down on anti-economic activities.

If you recall, barely two weeks ago, the command intercepted a diesel truck loaded with 197 50kg bags of imported rice with Duty Paid Value of N3, 349,000. We have continued to record victory over these recalcitrant saboteurs.

Last month, October, the commands re-sharpened intelligence network led to the arrest of five seizures comprising: 1,481x50kg bags of imported foreign rice with a DPV of N25, 177,000; five vehicles with a DPV of N14, 337,000 and nine bales of second hand clothing with a DPV of N720, 000, he said, adding: “ The seizures are estimated at over N40 million which represents a huge loss on the part of these elements despite the fact of a jail term that awaits any of them who will be arrested.”

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