Compt. Hussein Ejibunu (right) signing off the seized Cannabis Sativa to the NDLEA Assistant Commander, Narcotics, Moshood Aluko during the display of the seized items in Lagos…Wednesday
- 11 suspects arrested in connection, three jailed
By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it intercepted 68 pieces of smuggled military camouflage and 450x106kg drums of explosive-making chemical (also called carbide) on their way into the country.
These were in addition to 47,750 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 2,135 wraps of Cannabis Sativa (Indian hemp) weighing 1,163kg, 5,481x50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, 314 pieces of used tyres, 11 used motorcycles and 13 used vehicles worth N517.9 million.
Also, the unit recovered approximately N86.12 million through demand notices (DN) on underpaid Customs duties on imports intercepted along the South-West borders.
Unveiling the items to newsmen in Lagos Wednesday, Compt. Hussein Ejibunu said the smuggled items were intercepted in January, and the seized Indian hemp handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
In view of the closeness of the general elections and the spate of insecurity across the country, the acting controller said the Indian hemp, military camouflage and carbide could be used to fuel crimes and electoral violence by unpatriotic elements.
Ejibunu said of the unit’s operations: “We did not only restrategise 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 mobilised with high morale to arrest, prosecute and make them lose their wares to the federal government.”
According to him, “seizures recorded in January 2023 are a reflection of officers’ commitment to duty and non-compromise 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 three people for smuggling.”
He added: “Considering the spate of insecurity across the country, and the upcoming general elections, it can be postulated that the imported Indian hemp and military camouflage (and carbide) 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.”
On receiving the Cannabis Sativa on behalf of the agency, the NDLEA Assistant Commander, Narcotics, Moshood Aluko, assured that the agency would seal the black spots through which the contrabands are smuggled into the country.
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