Ogun Customs Command Intercepts Drugs, Used Tyre, Other Items Worth N380.3m

By Sylvanus OBASI, Lagos

The Ogun 1 Command of the Nigeria  Customs Service said it has made seizures of cannabis sativa otherwise known as Marijuana or Indian helm; used tyres; Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and other smuggled items all valued at N 380.37 million. This is even as it also generated N14.62 million from baggage assessment and auction  sales of premium motor spirit (pms).

Comptroller James Ojo, the Customs Area Controller of Ogun 1 customs command made the disclosures while briefing pressmen on the activities of the command in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Friday.

Comptroller Ojo who took over the leadership of the command from Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu barely a month ago said he started by hitting the ground running; adding that the seizures were evidence of his resolve to tackle smuggling and other vices that  hinder economic growth of the nation.

According to him, “During the period under review, the Command made a total seizure of 103 items comprising 90 sacks and 1,309 parcels of cannabis sativa; 1,596 pieces of foreign used pneumatic tyres; 2,922 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each; 32 bales of used clothes, 1,603 Cartons of frozen poultry products, and 22,600 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, among others. The cumulative Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the seized items amount to N380,370,91.

” It is of essence to state that the aforementioned items were intercepted at different locations within Ogun State, with the aid of intensive intelligence strategies and concerted efforts of our intelligence network such as the Customs Intelligence Unit, DSS and others.

“Permit me to briefly highlight the adverse effect of the seized items on the wellbeing of our citizenry, especially the cannabis sativa, pneumatic tyres and foreign rice.

“Cannabis Sativa, commonly known as marijuana or Indian hemp is a psychoactive drug that is derived from the cannabis plant. It has devastating effect on the lives of its consumers, especially our youths. The rise in its abuse is of great concern within the Nigerian society and a threat to our national security, due to its potential influence on criminal activities, such as armed robbery, banditry, cultism, kidnapping terrorism and other criminality.

“Foreign-used Pneumatic Tyres, more commonly known as Tokunbo tyres, are ring-shaped protective coverings made of rubber and filled with compressed air, typically used in foreign countries, and shipped into the country after use over Seas. “These tyres are deemed unsuitable for our highways because, significant number of them have exceeded their recommended lifespan from their manufacturing dates” Comptroller  Ojo noted.

Continuing he said, ”According to safety experts, good-quality pneumatic tyres are safe for use for only four years from the date of manufacturing. Any usage beyond this duration poses a significant risk to motorists and put their lives in jeopardy.

“Rice is a staple food eaten in many homes in the country. Its importation through the land borders was prohibited by the Federal Government of Nigerian (FGN) to encourage local production and be self-sufficient, as Nigeria is blessed with vast and fertile lands. This policy of the FGN may be perceived as difficult and unfriendly, but has a long-term great benefit when embraced. For instance, the much-appreciated foreign rice is a local produce in the countries of exportation, and these countries commenced their production with insignificant quantity before getting to their present commercial status.

“In a nutshell, the persistent smuggling of rice will continue to hamper our economic growth and development as a nation. We will overcome the economic situation in the country by God’s grace. Let us give the required support and cooperation to Nigeria Customs Service, and by extension to the FGN to improve our social security and economic wellbeing.”

He said to complement the  anti-smuggling exploits, the Command generated the sum of N14,628,661 as revenue through baggage assessment and auction sales of petroleum products.

He however noted that the trading activities across the border is not encouraging  ,but assured effort  is ongoing to address the identified challenges that hinder the flow of trade.

”We are hopeful that this will enhance our revenue profile significantly. Let me use this medium to encourage our compliant traders to remain steadfast and be assured of our maximum cooperation.” he affirmed .

“Our doors are widely open for consultation and required support. On this note, I will like to send a note of warning to economic saboteurs to steer clear of smuggling activities and embrace legitimate trade. Anyone caught in the act will be made to face the wrath of the  law”, Comptroller Ojo warned. Adding that “The Command wishes to reaffirm our dedication to duty and commitment to ensuring safety and well-being of our people. We remain resolute in carrying out our mandate in Ogun State with utmost patriotism. Your support and cooperation with mutual understanding will assist in facilitating our economic growth and social wellbeing”  he noted.

He expressed  his appreciation on the support given the command by the CGC, Bashir Adeniyi and his management team and also appreciated the concerted and collaborative efforts of “our gallant officers as well as our critical stakeholders”, he intoned.

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