Ogun 1 Customs impounds 12 trailer loads of foreign rice, others… Insists on border closure for now

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–Pix (above): Comptroller Dera Nnadi of  Ogun `1 CAC (m), flanked by officers, displays some of the seizures

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In a demonstration of the charge given them by the Customs High Command few weeks ago to revolutionize vital areas of the Service for optimum efficiency, the Ogun1Customs Area Command has impounded a total of 12 lorry loads of foreign parboiled rice and other contrabands valued at N172.9million  in the last one month. This followed a relaunch of its anti-smuggling campaign.

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In the same vein, the command also generated a total of N2.4million revenue, essentially from auction sale of seized petroleum products, mainly the Premium Motor Spirit (aka petrol) and scrap metals. This is against the backdrop of the   directive of the Federal Government on border closure which is still in place, thereby prohibiting import and export activities in the area.

According to the command, the seizure of the rice consignment becomes a more worrisome development, bearing in mind that if such a large consignment was allowed into the country’s market, it would have negatively affected Federal Government’s policy on rice, especially with the rice cooperative farm in Ogun State located at Imeko Afon, a suburb of the state, being in active support of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Federal Government and the World Bank which last week just harvested 2,600 metric tonnes of paddy rice.

TheStateOnline reports that the Comptroller General of the Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.), had last month, promoted and deployed Comptroller Dera Nnadi, who was, until then, the Deputy Comptroller in charge of administration at the Ogun1command. He replaced Comptroller Peter Kolo, who had retired from the service.   

Other contraband items seized during the period under review include 300 litres of vegetable oil packaged in 25-litre kegs, 20 units of used vehicles, which were means of conveyance, two units of motorcycles also used as means of conveyance, four bales of used clothing materials and 26 sacks of used shoes.

Also seized were 637kg of Cannabis, 20, 775 litres of Premium Motor Spirit PMS loaded in 25-litre kegs, 810 cartons of frozen poultry and four sacks of used toys with a cumulative duty paid value of  N172,999,387.00.

Briefing newsmen in Abeokuta, Wednesday, the Customs Area Comptroller, Dera Nnadi, also disclosed that the command has just taken delivery of 10 units of brand new Toyota Hilux vehicles, which he described as the Comptroller General’s gesture towards the command’s effective anti-smuggling operations. While thanking the Comptroller General and the entire management team of the service for the kind gesture, he charged the officers and men of the Service to gear up for the work ahead to justify the provision of work tools by the management.

Nnadi said: “Gentlemen, I welcome you to Abeokuta for this press conference aimed at presenting our scorecard in Ogun 1 Command of Nigeria Customs Service in the last one month. You will recall that I assumed office as Customs Area Comptroller of the Command on October 18, 2021, exactly one month and six days today.

“Once again, let me use this opportunity to thank the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Ibrahim Hameed Ali, rtd, and the management of the Service for considering me worthy, of not only being promoted to the rank of Comptroller, but for being deployed as the Customs Area Comptroller of Ogun 1 Command.

“This is a conferment of responsibility that I will not take for granted. It is a call for continuous service for which my officers and men, with the support of the stakeholders, must accomplish to the best of our ability.

“It is in fulfillment of this promise that we are here to share with you the record of our activities in our core areas of revenue generation, anti-smuggling operation and stakeholders’ engagement, especially in ensuring that we strike a balance between trade facilitation and application of control at a closed border since I assumed office as the Customs Area Comptroller from October 18, 2021 to November 23, 2021.

“The provision of the vehicles is, no doubt, a demonstration of management’s support and encouragement to Ogun 1 Command. It is proof of management’s commitment to quality service delivery to the nation. This gesture will, no doubt, enhance our operation and improve our performance, part of which we will share with you as we progress.”

The seizure, he noted, remains a major win for the command “as it celebrates these farmers who are testimonies and justification of the Service’s anti-smuggling efforts in support of local rice productions in the country.”

On revenue generation, the CAC disclosed that the command generated a total revenue of N2.4million during the period under review, which were mainly proceeds of auction sale of seized petroleum products (PMS) and scrap metals, adding that the Federal Government’s directive on border closure is still subsisting and hence, no revenue is generated from import-related activities.

“We are deploying massive intelligence and are also deploying rules of engagement in all our operations. This has yielded greater successes being recorded on daily basis without casualties.

“We have extended our stakeholders’ engagement to include continuous interactions with critical stakeholders in the command. To this end, we have been engaging with the youths, who form the bulk of the human assets in Ogun State, particularly at the border areas. We have also been engaging the elders of the communities, who, in all honesty, have a good knowledge and understanding of the challenges of enforcing government’s policy in the border, especially as the borders remain closed.

“We have also been engaging with royal fathers of the state and have appealed to them to warn their subjects to desist from smuggling and attacks on Customs personnel. Let me use this medium to thank them for accepting to continuously help in this direction. We are also reaching out to the State Governor, who is the Chief Security Officer of the state in this direction, and the future looks mutually very rewarding for Nigeria Customs Service and the state.”

Comptroller, Nnadi, however, warned smugglers and criminal elements in the state that the command under his watch would definitely uncover every illegal acts of theirs, make arrest and inflict gross financial injury on such ventures and their perpetuators, while also warning that the command would, henceforth, no longer tolerate the continuous physical attacks on Customs and other security operatives in the state, insisting that such attacks would not deter the command from sustaining the onslaught on smuggling activities already in place./SHARE THIS

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