Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone B,Mustapha Sarkin-Kebbi(NCS), has disclosed that it seized smuggled rice and other items valued at N43 million within a week. This is amid the closure of the Nigerian land borders.
The seized goods include 703 bags of rice, 25 vehicles, 530 jerry-cans of vegetable oil, 245 cartons of Spaghetti, 9 bales of secondhand items of clothing, 40 jerry-cans of dual-purpose kerosene as well as 30,000 litres and 288 jerry-cans of PMS.
Vanguard reported that while parading the seized items before the press, the Controller of Customs for the zone, covering 10 northern states, including Abuja, Mustapha Sarkin-Kebbi said, smugglers were exploring new strategies to beat the intense patrol of the region by the Customs.
Lamenting the difficulty experienced by the Customs officials, Sarkin-Kebbi stated that the porous nature of the borders in the north, coupled with lack of adequate manpower had made it difficult for the customs to fully implement the full border closure in the region.
“The significance of this is that they have been trying to beat our officers and men along the road. They tried to conceal foreign rice deep inside bags of onions, potatoes, sugar canes, empty jerry-cans and footwears.
“We will not rest on our oars. The policy of the federal government must be sustained and it will be sustained if we continue to stop the smuggling of this foreign rice. The right continues and by the grace of God Nigeria customs house and Nigerians will triumph. We will make sure that these smugglers that are trying to ruin our economy and our security will not succeed,” he stated.
The Customs boss added that there were over 2000 illegal routes in the zone and the absence of adequate manpower had made it difficult to effectively man the various illegal routes.