By Raji Rasak
Badagry (Lagos State), March 31, 2021 The Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Border Area Command, on Wednesday said it had intercepted contraband with duty paid value of N409,851,533 since the reopening of the border
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Bello Jibo, disclosed this at a news conference at ECOWAS Joint Border Post, Seme-Krake.
He said that the banned substances, smuggled into Nigeria through the border, include 232 wraps of cannabis sativa, 98 used vehicles, 5,568 bags of rice and two sacks of condom.
Jibo said that the contraband were smuggled in the period from Dec.17 when the Federal Government announced the reopening of four land borders to date.
He said that officers of the command had taken full advantage of renewed strategies to intensify the fight against smuggling.
“This has led to remarkable interception of 705 items, the duty paid value of the seized items is N409,851,533 only.
“The breakdown of the seized items is, 5,568 bags of 50kg foreign rice, 3,208 Jerry cans of petrol, 98 used vehicles, 294 cartons of frozen poultry products and 232 parcels of cannabis sativa.
“Others are 798 cartons of tomato paste, three cartons of sugar, six cartons of slippers, 305 pairs of used shoes, 30 cartons of Nescafe, 19 cartons of non-alcoholic wine.
“We also seized 10 cartons of cigarettes, 12 cartons of herbal soap and two sacks of condoms,” he said.
The comptroller said that the achievement was an indication that men the command was not losing its guard in detecting and stemming the tide of nefarious activities perpetrated by daredevil smugglers.
He said that with the reopening of land borders, the command had harnessed all revenue components in line with the new operational guidelines.
The controller said that the command had recorded trade volume of 348,827,775 metric tons of exported goods with Free on Board (FOB) value of N4,277,047,153 only.
According to Jibo, the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme value stood at N21,384,443.
“The overall revenue remitted into the federation account is N80,774,807 during the period under review, while the grand total for both seizure and revenue is N490,626,431 only,” he said.
Meanwhile, the controller handed over the 232 parcels of cannabis sativa to the officials of Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Seme.
Shortly before handing over the cannabis, Jibo said it was intercepted along the beach area of the border.
He said the smugglers were using speed boat to convey the drugs into the country through the waterways when they were intercepted.
Jibo said the command would ensure that they get rid of drugs coming illegally into the country.
Commenting shortly after the hand over of the cannabis, Mr Essein Udotong, the Commander, NDLEA, Seme Command, said the country would overcome its security challenges if security operatives cooperate with one another.
He hailed the operatives of the customs area command for intercepting the substance.
The commander said the drugs had the ability to cause much damage to smokers if not seized.
Udotong said that the agency would carry out further investigation to find out those involved in smuggling cannabis into the country.
“The cannabis has been handed over to us and we will look for the owners; the present NDLEA has what it takes to arrest the people behind the illicit drug,” he said.