BY FUNMI ALUKO
The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has handed over seized fake $6million, ten international passports and six international driver licenses seized by its operatives along the Badagry- Seme Krake express road within the Lagos-Abidjan Corridor in January 2023.
Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni, while handing over the seized items to representatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), respectively, explained that the respective agencies are expected to carry out more detailed investigations on the items, with the likely prospect of fishing out the syndicate behind the smugglings with a view to making them face prosecution.
Also handed over to the Seme Border Director of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Nura were seized decomposing quantity of rats and birds, and some packs of controlled narcotics, tramadol, intercepted and impounded by operatives of the customs command.
He explained that the handing over of the said items followed the directive of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), and in line with the service’s regime of synergy between agencies of government aimed at promoting results through inter agency seamless collaboration.
The above seizures which were part the command’s anti-smuggling landmarks scorecard for the first quarter 2023 include the fake $6m (Six Million) USD (equivalent of N2.763 Billion at exchange rate of N460.52).
Significant amongst the seizures believed to be part of the activities of an international syndicate are “Six (6) Maltese International Passports with the same picture of a lady but bearing different names, Two (2) Senegalese International Passports, Three(3 )Togolese International Passports, Four (4) Republic of Benin International Passports, One (1) Republic of Niger International Passport and Ten (10) International Driving License of these various countries”, Nnadi said.
Also seized in the first quarter is 2, 242 bags of 50kg rice equivalent to 112,100 kg, equivalent to four trailer loads of foreign par boiled with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N72, 700, 480.
Others are 7, 587 by 30 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which comprise of 227,610 liters or seven tankers of petrol with a DPV of N51, 075, 684; 550 pieces of donkey skin with DPV of N10, 689,504.
According to the Seme Customs boss, the seizures include 1160 pieces of dead rats, 1102 pieces of dead tiny birds and 34 pieces of monkey skin and 14 parcels of cannabis sativa. Comptroller Nnadi explained that further investigations as to the real reasons behind the smuggling of the rats and birds may be unraveled by NAFDAC.
He noted that officers involved in the seizures have been appreciated by the command by providing them with new sets of uniform and shoes, while their names have been forwarded to the headquarters.
He said, “These achievements (progress) so far, were not made on a platter of gold. It took the painstaking efforts of the officers who spend hours on patrol and surveillance to record the seizures.
“We wish to reiterate that we will not relent on this effort and for this reason, the officers are being commended.”