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Customs seizes 8,413 bags of smuggled imported rice, groundnut oil

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NIGERIA Customs Service has made a seizure of 8,413 bags of 50kg smuggled imported rice and 524 units of 25litre-keg of groundnut oil at Onikan village, along Kishi road off Alapa in Mooro local government area of Kwara state.

The seizure was reportedly made by a team of customs men at the Zone B headquarters of Strike Force of the Nigeria Customs Service, in a four-day operation in the zone.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Saturday, head of the team, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Abdullahi Kirawa, said that the service was determined to put an end to the evil of smuggling.

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Kirawa, who explained that there was no geographical demarcation in keeping its seizure, added that the law says seizure must be kept at the nearest customs formation. “The the seizures were made in Kwara state while the nearest customs formation where we can keep the items is Ilorin.

“The activities that led to the briefing was the ones that happened within the last four days. The same activities also happened on the 18 of December after which I addressed the press in Benin where all manners of seizure were showcased and the ingenuity improvised by smugglers to evade detention. I was also at Calabar on the 19th of December where we presented the activities of the strike force in that axis and emphasized the synergy that existed between sister agencies of the government particularly the Nigerian Navy in handing over 2,158 bags of foreign suspected smuggled rice.

“While I was in zone C smugglers on this axis thought they would have a free day and perpetuate their nefarious activities. The team that carried out the work sneaked into the zone unknown to anybody and went and made seizure of 8,413 bags 50kg of suspected foreign smuggled rice. These were evacuated from a village called Onikan along Kishi road off Alapa in Mooro local government area of Kwara state and 524 25litres of vegetable oils,” he said.

While speaking on the arrest of the smugglers, Kirawa said “the rice were found in dwelling houses in the village which are turned into mini warehouses where the smuggled items were kept. The entire village of Onikan have their dwelling houses filled with rice, so we can’t start to arrest everybody in the village but I appeal to the leadership of the village to talk to and sensitise his subjects about the ills and evils of smuggling because it is detrimental to the economy and there are inherent dangers associated with it such as smuggling of arms and ammunition, hard drugs, etc.”

Speaking on the disposal of the seized item, the Deputy Comptroller said it is a statutory duty of the board of the Nigerian customs service. Adding that, It is the board that decides what to be done with the seizures and that it will be disposed appropriately as the board deem fit.

While appealing to members of the public not to harbour smugglers or conceal them, he advised them to always stand their ground and report any smuggling activities to the appropriate authority.

“We are there to ensure that smuggling of prohibited items is completely eradicated to save our economy. This is the yuletide period for festivities and smugglers will think we will be cut off guard but it is a no because I am telling them now that their game is up as we are ready to chase them to wherever they are. Therefore, the best thing for them is to abandon the age-long trade and embrace acceptable means of livelihood by engaging in legitimate trade,” he added.

The post Customs seizes 8,413 bags of smuggled imported rice, groundnut oil appeared first on Tribune Online.

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