September 06, (THEWILL) – The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Tuesday, said its operatives intercepted 20 drums of Carbide (an explosive device), worth N33,398,400, between Abeokuta and Ijebu-Ode axis of Ogun State in August, 2022.
Briefing newsmen in Lagos at the Unit base, the Acting Comptroller, FOU Zone A, Hussein Ejibunu, said his officers also seized some military uniforms along Ijebu-Ode road in Ogun State under the same period.
According to Ejibunu, “While welcoming you to this briefing on our activities in the preceding month, it is important we reiterate that we are not unaware of the likely increase of smuggling activities as we gravitate towards the yuletide period, when smugglers’ desperation is on the increase.
“Our strategies are constantly being reworked, in our efforts to think ahead of economic saboteurs towards defeating their game of concealment, false declaration, underpayment of duty, and trying to bring in dangerous items like illicit drugs.
“On the seized 20 drums of carbide, it is instructive to emphasise that such importation raises concerns of national security. This is because it is a chemical used in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and could cause danger to life and property.
“Allowing things like this chemical into the society uncontrollably could create serious security challenge for the country. Carbide is flammable, reactive, and can cause explosion hazards when mixed with other chemicals and exposed to water or moisture. It forms flammable acetylene gas that could be used to endanger lives by lawless persons.
“This is aside other health hazards, the chemical on exposure can irritate the mouth, nose, and throat if not properly handled. Inhaling Calcium Carbide can irritate the lungs. Higher exposures may cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs and could lead to emergency medical situations.
“Its importation is, therefore, strictly controlled from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
“As we battle with smugglers, our eagle eyes are not letting go of duty evasion too. In doing this, we are constantly encouraged by the manpower, logistics, expansion of the Government Warehouse, and other motivating supports being provided for us by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), and members of the Service management team.
“Seizures made within the month of August 2022, were gotten from Idi-Roko, Oyo Axis, Seme Road, Ijebu-Ode Road and the Ports Corridors.
“10 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seized goods, and are at various stages of investigation and prosecution, as we remain resolute to make them face the full wrath of the law.”
Among other seized goods are: “1 x 40ft containing flavour seasoning, falsely declared as auto spare parts.
“1 x 40ft containing auto interior accessories, falsely declared as filters/pneumatic transmission
“1 X 40ft containing vegetable oil and foreign parboiled rice, falsely declared as used vehicles.
“1 x 20ft containing 21 pallets of tiles, falsely declared as PVC floor tiles/floor bricks.
“1 x 20ft containing Padi Bitters, falsely declared as olive nuts.
“1 x 20ft containing unprocessed wood, falsely declared as aluminum ingots.
“1 x 20ft containing bales of used clothes and shoes, with a used fake seal/Dangote Truck.
“20 drums of Carbide without an End User Certificate.
“5,593 (50kg) bags of foreign parboiled rice; equivalent to 9 trailers truckload.
“56,725 litres of premium motor spirit, 375 bales of used clothes.
“242 parcels of Indian Hemp and 41 pieces of military camouflage bags.
“Aggregate duty paid value (DPV) of the seized goods is N579,412,549.
“In our efforts to prevent loss of government revenue to duty underpayments, undervaluation of imported items, and wrong harmonised system (HS) code classification, we recovered a total of N46,298,422.50.
“These seizures are a reflection of our commitment to duty and non-compromise in the discharge of our functions; aimed at protecting the nation’s economy and preventing importation of prohibited and harmful products from entering our markets.
“It is our hope that these seizures, recoveries, and arrests would serve as deterrent to other smugglers and duty evaders. Let me warn again, that the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, will not stop making life unbearable for smugglers. We are already intensifying our efforts to continually seize smuggled items, arrest suspected perpetrators and ensure they face diligent prosecution or hand them over to sister agencies where necessary, as enshrined in our laws and standard operating procedures.
“I want to once again warn that any attempt to violate the provisions of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45 2004 LFN, which is our enabling legislation, will be met with total resistance on the part of smugglers and duty evaders. Our 24-hour round-the-clock patrols are constantly rejigged for efficiency.
“Our enforcement capability is supported always by impeccable intelligence, resulting to the successes we have recorded so far. Nigerians should be assured that we are not in any way going to relent in the discharge of our functions.”