It was seizures galore at the Federal Operations Unit, Zone C Owerri, as the Unit intercepted several contraband including chemicals for the production of explosives as well as drugs worth more than N1.6 billion in the last two months.
The Controller of the Unit, Kayode Kolade disclosed to newsmen in Benin today that ‘more worrisome is the interception of 9 sacks of 50kg each of explosive materials-fertiliser, device cables and superpower 90 chemicals ‘
He said if these explosives components were allowed to get to their destination unchecked, the effect would be disastrous.
‘It may interest you to know that superpower 90 is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting ‘
According to him, the high detonation velocity and the robust nature of superpower 90 make it an ideal primer for the initiation of column charge, noting ‘ let us not just imagine if dynamites and landmines are detonated using these items’
Other items seized include 1, 329 bags of 50kg each of smuggled foreign rice,417 sacks of cannabis sativa weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of same indian hemp 1kg each totalling 627kg, 5 cartons of DSP cough syrup with codeine 100mg containing 1000 bottles.
Also impounded are one Unit of armoured bullion van, 761 jumbo bales of second hand clothing, 883 cartons of various unregistered/expired medicaments 192 packets of 225mg of Royal tramadol, 100 cartons of various wines, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres and 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomatoe paste.
The customs helmsman said based on prompt intelligence and sting operation, the rice was intercepted along calabar/Akwa Ibom axis and Okada/Benin express way while the 417 sacks and 627 parcels of Indian hemp were intercepted at Okada-Benin and Ewu-Auchi express way respectively.
Th bales of clothing mostly concealed in trucks and buses were intercepted along Umuikaa/Aba Road and Okada-Benin Road.
The 5 cartons of DSP cough syrup with codeine and 883 cartons of unregistered medicaments including 192 packets of 225mg tramadol were intercepted along Benin/Asaba/Onitsha express way.
Kolade stated that the armoured bullion van without end user certificates and customs documents was intercepted along Okada/Benin express while various cartons of wines and tomatoe paste were intercepted in Cross River.
The Controller noted that more than nine suspects were arrested in connection with these detentions/seizures.
He congratulated the Comptroller General Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, on his appointment to oversee the affairs of the service, saying it is an appointment well deserved considering his pedigree, dedication and commitment to the service.
‘We will make sure he succeeds as his leadership style has started yielding positive results in our operations ‘
He also thanked the Comptroller General and his management team for their efforts so far in providing needed incentives and necessary logistics that aided their performance.
The FOU boss commended his colleagues, the customs intelligence unit (CIU), the customs police for their intelligence sharing, resilience and tenacity which brought about this stride.
He enjoined members of the fourth estate of the realm to join the customs service in the advocacy campaign against the hazard of smuggling to the nation’s economy, and to all Nigerians to support the service with necessary intelligence and information that could assist the service nip in the bud smuggled in the interest of fatherland.
‘As we all know, this is Ember season, let me equally warn all economic saboteurs who will use this period for their nefarious acts to have a rethink as we will make sure they count their losses, as no amount of distraction will stop us from carrying out our statutory responsibilities, not even in the face of attacks we encountered this month by some sponsored elements ‘