Owerri – The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri said it impounded 1,343 bags of foreign rice and other contraband worth N492 million and made six arrest within the month.
The Area Controller of the Zone, Compt. Kayode Olusemire, made this known while displaying the seized items to newsmen in Owerri on Wednesday.
He said the contraband with Duty Paid Value of N492 million were seized by his men along Port Harcourt-Owerri axis, while six suspects were arrested in connection with the seized items.
He said that two of the suspects had been given administrative bail.
He expressed regret that in spite of Federal Government’s efforts, through the Nigeria customs and other government agencies to combat smuggling, some individuals had remained adamant in shortchanging government’s revenue generation.
Olusemire said that most of the seized items had expired, while others such as Analgin had been banned by the government and so are unfit for human consumption.
“Nigerians derive joy in perpetrating evil all in the intent to defraud the government and make more profits.
“The war against importation of foreign rice is not yet over. Nigerians should be encouraged to eat what is produced in the country. We can do this by stopping to patronise foreign rice.
“With technology, you can plant anything and it will grow. Depending on and patronising foreign-made goods is undermining the economy of the nation,” he said.
The area controller identified the seized items to include a 1* 40 ft container carrying 312 bales of used clothing, another 1 * 40 ft container with 1,182 cartons of Analgin injection and other items and a 1 * 40 ft truck with 233 cartons of foreign furniture.
He said the foreign furniture truck was seized due to wrong declaration made by the conveyor.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other items seized are a truck containing 392 bags of 50kg foreign rice and 33 bales of second hand clothing, both with DPV of over N15.253 million.
A ttruck with 205 bags of 50kg foreign rice both valued at N7.95 million and another truck carrying 684 bags of 50kg foreign rice with DPV of N22.35 million.
Olusemire said the prohibited second hand clothing, furniture, rice and analgin were concealed with other unprohibited items such as granite to deceive the eagle eyes of the customs men.
He said that a Toyota Sienna car carrying 62 bags of 50kg foreign rice with a total DPV of N3.20 million were equally seized.
The customs officer described smuggling as an evil practice that had made the country’s industries moribond causing the Nigerian youths employment opportunities.
“There are so many ways smugglers operate. But we can only stop them, especially the rice smugglers by not patronising the foreign rice.
“We will continue to sensitise Nigerians untill the war against smuggling is won,’ he said.
Olusemire called on Nigerians to always provide useful information about activities of smugglers, stressing that the NCS was better equipped and trained with wide spread tentacles to stop smugglers any how they decided to operate.