Ahead of the February 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections , Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) said it has intercepted smuggled military camouflage, including some quantity of carbide, used as raw materials for explosives.
Addressing journalists in his premises in Lagos, the Unit Controller, Hussein Ejibunu said the smuggled military wares seized in January is 68 pieces in total, including 450 units of 106kilogramme drums of carbide, which he said is still in detention.
The seizures which includes 47,750 litres of premium motor, 5,481 units of 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, equivalent to over 9 trailer loads; 314 pieces of used tyres;11 units of used motorcycles; and 13 units of used vehicles, amounting to a total ofN517,918,790.
A Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Ejibunu who before now handed over seized 2,135 wraps of marijuana weighing 1,163 kg to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) in the month of January, said the unit is more than ready to tackle every form of economic sabotage and to deal squarely with recalcitrant importers and agents; assuring that the Unit will not negotiate it’s mandate.
He said “We did not only re-strategize our operations but our officers are urged to be more professional, and are keyed into the Service’s Standard Operations Procedure (SOP); aimed at facilitating legitimate trade.
“In doing this, we are assuring all compliant traders and importers that they have nothing to fear. While the recalcitrant ones are advised to desist because we are better mobilized with high morale to arrest, prosecute, and make them loose their wares in forfeiture to the federal government.”
He continues: “Seizures recorded in January 2023 are a reflection of officers’ commitment to duty, and no compromise posture in the discharge of our statutory responsibilities; aimed at protecting the national economy and preventing the importation of prohibited, and harmful goods.
“These goods were intercepted along the border corridors of the South-West for contravening different Customs laws. Eleven suspects were arrested in connection with some of the wares. While the Federal High Court had convicted 3 people for the crime of smuggling.
“Considering the spate of insecurity across the country, and the upcoming general elections; it can be postulated that the importation of Indian Hemp, and military camouflage could be used to fuel crimes and electoral violence by unpatriotic elements. while the former is under prohibition, the latter are under the control and supervision of the Office of the National Security Adviser, which requires End-User Certificates.
“Members of the public are hereby, enjoined to key into the prevailing security concerns by providing useful, and timely information that would expose and lead to the arrest of the enemies of the state”, he said