Blow by blow account of Ejibunu’s strides

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Deputy Compt Ejibunu

Few weeks after the disbandment of the Customs Strike force and empowering of the Federal Operations Unit, multiple seizures of drugs, foreign parboiled rice and premium motor spiri (PMS) worth more half a billion naira were made in the last two weeks.

This is also in the middle of the operational visit of the Customs boss in Zone A of the western states. Comptroller General of the Customs Adewale Bashir Adeniyi told newsmen today that a DAF truck ferrying 299 cartons of codeine syrup was intercepted along lagos-Ibadan expresss way.

Also, more than 4,252 bags of foreign parboiled rice were seized at Dangote/Imashayi Ogun state, Owode/Ado Odo in Ogun State, Idiroko/Ohunbe also in Ogun State, Okoko mile 2 Axis in lagos as well as Ado Ekiti. Similarly, the CG disclosed that 5,600 litres of premium motor spirit were intercepted and seized when smugglers attempted to take out ‘these strategic resources through Oja-Odan axis in Ogun State.

Adeniyi stated that other items seized in the last two weeks include *291 bales of second hand clothing *57 sacks and 4 jumbos sacks of used shoes *486 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products *190 pieces of rugs,**5 units of vehicles and 170 pieces of used tyres.

CG Adeniyi said as part of our unwavering commitment to safeguarding our society and protecting the well-being of our citizens, the NCS has once again demonstrated its dedication to eradicating the menace of drug trafficking. Last week officers of the Federal Operating Unit Zone A, acting on credible intelligence, flagged down a DAF truck close to Ijebu-Ode Junction. An examination of the truck revealed the concealment of 299 cartons of codeine syrup along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.

NCS is yet again drawing national attention to the danger posed by unrestricted access to the use dangerous drugs. Codeine syrup is designated as a controlled item due to its rampant abuse by our delinquent youth. The misuse and illicit distribution of codeine-containing medications have given rise to grave security and public health concerns, contributing to a surge in addiction, adverse health effects, and societal challenges. In response, regulatory measures have been implemented to curb its availability and unrestricted access. This underscores the importance of addressing this issue as part of broader efforts to safeguard public health and well-being. On our part we will continue to partner with the NDLEA and other relevant government agencies to curb the spread of the menace and protect the future generations of Nigerians.

According to CG Adeniyi, Smugglers of rice and premium motor spirit continue to test our will to put them out of business. Smuggling of rice compromise our revenue and sabotage our food security. Despite the biting effects of fuel subsidy removal on our economy, smugglers still attempt to smuggle PMS across the border. They met their waterloo in different operations conducted by officers of NCS. The following seizures of both items were recorded. A total of 4, 252 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50 kg each) at Dangote/ Imashayi Ogun State, Saki Axis Oyo State, Owode/Ado Odo in Ogun state, Idiroko/Ohumbe Ogun State, Okoko Mile 2 Axis in Lagos State and Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State. Similarly, 5,600 litres of premium motor spirit were intercepted and seized when smugglers attempted to takeout these strategic resource through Oja-odan axis in Ogun State.

Other items seized in the last 2 weeks include: a. 291 Bales of Second-hand Clothing. b. 57 Sacks and 4 Jumbo Sacks of Used Shoes,. c. 486 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products. d. 190 Pieces of Rugs. e.5 Units of Vehicles. f.170 pieces of used tyresCustoms CG said these seizures are a fallout of our uncompromising position to strictly enforce the law and protect the lives of our people.

The codeine syrup, which is reportedly being abused by mostly young persons in society, is associated with addiction and, in the long-term, results in anxiety, depression, memory loss, and damage to the liver, kidneys and brain. It is pertinent to note that the damaging effects of drugs have led to preventable deaths for consumers taking them outside doctors’ prescriptions.
The 340 pieces of used tyres seized within the first two weeks of August 2023 by this unit is not only limited to the implementation of import prohibition lists but also a giant stride to mitigate auto crashes caused by smuggled used tyres.

CG said these tyres are squeezed, compressed and tucked into themselves for ease of concealment, thereby causing them to crack. They are oftentimes expired, their rigidity and strength compromised. Drivers could experience a blowout or sudden rupture as the steel wire meant to keep the tyres in shape has been disorganised in the course of smuggling.

We once again advise that any investment made into the smuggling business is meant to be a loss because we will keep battling these enemies of our country. I urge all patriotic Nigerians to continuously support the Nigeria Customs Service with helpful information that will aid our efforts to curb smuggling and arrest suspects.

Psychotropic substances are now gradually becoming a way of life for many Nigerians as the Federal Operations Unit, zone A of the Customs in June disclosed that a lorry load of 9,857 parcels of cannabis sativa weighing 5,338 kg, with Duty paid value (DPV) of N400 million was intercepted by its operatives.

Conducting newsmen around the customs warehouse, its Controller, Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu regretted that it is worrisome that such huge seizure was made in a single swoop. He noted that the Indian hemp was imported from Ghana and intercepted within the creeks of Ajah in Lagos in the wee hours of the morning. A suspect in connection with the crime is already in custody.

‘Crime experts have found a direct relationship between the intake of this controlled plant and violent crimes. We are conscious of this challenge and will continually cut the supply chain of illicit drugs and other prohibited substances” He deposed.

Others seizures in the month of May which featured prominently include 12 trailer loads of rice (6,861 bags) of foreign parboiled rice, 1,236 Jerry cans of petroleum and two by 20 containers of unprocessed wood. Others are four units of used vehicles, 40×5 Jerry cans of vegetable oil as well as 54 bales of second hand clothing. Altogether, four suspects were arrested in connection with some of the intercepted goods.

Ejibunu revealed that for ongoing prosecution of suspects, the Federal High Court at Abeokuta-Ogun state has sentenced one Musa Oloyede, Fishing Godwin David and Adeniyi Alaye, to two years imprisonment for assaulting his officers while carrying out their statutory duties.

The Controller noted that detentions and seizures recorded within the period under review amounted to 79 seizures, with a total Duty paid value of N1,025 905,110. He described the feat as a product of surveillance, intelligence gathering and regular patrols.

According to him, these were intercepted at different times and locations within the border corridors of the South West zone. He also said some of the wares were intercepted for either violating the guidelines on the importation/exportation of goods, concealment, under-valuation, wrong classification and smuggling, while others were seized for contravening policy directives ‘as it is in the case of foreign rice’

On revenue, the customs helmsman pointed out that the sum of N38,355,362.88 was generated through conscious and thorough documentary checks, followed by issuance of Demand Notices on consignments that were found to have paid lesser amounts than the appropriate customs duty. Ejibunu urged patriotic Nigerians to promptly share information with customs operatives that will assist to checkmate the menace of smuggling.

‘Since smuggling is a crime that deals in illegal trade, such as illicit drugs and prohibited weapons, Nigerians should see insecurity and other crimes as products of smuggling. The perpetrators should be considered as common enemies of the land that must be jointly fought by all citizens’ He noted.
In April, the Federal Operations Unit, ‘A’ continued to make impressive seizures as it apprehended goods worth more than N746.1 million in the month of April alone.

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