By Chinonye Anyatonwu
The Western Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has seized goods worth over N2.2 billion including; 29,660 parcels of cannabis; 1575 bags of rice; 28735 litres of petrol; among others.
Addressing media men at the commands headquarter today in Lagos, the Command’s Area Controller, Comptroller Abubakar Umar disclosed that the seizures were between June and October, 2022.
According to Umar, the cannabis sativa was intercepted while on their way into the country from Ghana along our waterways.
Giving a breakdown of the seizures, Comptroller Umar said the total seized Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana) weighed 16,663kg and estimated to be worth N2,061,000,000; meanwhile, the seized 1575 bags of foreign parboiled rice equivalent to more than 2 trailer load of rice and worth N39,375,000.
Others are: 28,735 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) contained in 1,077 kegs of 25 liter size was equivalent to one tanker-load of PMS valued at N4,921,700 and other seizures were 7 wooden boats with 4 engines as means of conveyance worth N13,750,000 and 2 sacks of suspected gun powder.
Speaking on the canabis, Comptroller Umar said; “Importation like this won’t help our country’s development. We all know the harms that Cannabis Sativa pose to our youths. It is illegal to ship such contraband into Nigeria and we will continue to thwart the efforts of unscrupulous importers who derive joy in bringing in such substance into the country”
The customs boss however, observed that arresting suspects connected to amphibian smuggling activities have been very difficult for the Command’s officers as the defaulters usually dive into the waters.
“We don’t usually use our arms when apprehending these suspects or making seizures on the waterways because it’s usually at night and there are always fishermen. Our officers aren’t trigger happy, so they have to be cautious to avoid shooting at ordinary fishermen who still operate on these creeks and waterways at night,” he said.
Warning criminals involved in smuggling activities on the waterways, the Customs boss maintained that the Command would further intensify its anti-smuggling efforts as the yuletide season approaches.
The Area Controller, further appreciate the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) and his management team for supporting the Command with the necessary facilities; highlighting the Command’s new conference room and the anticipated seven newly constructed patrol boats as worthwhile additions.
In his words: “We are expecting 7 newly constructed boats. Right now we have nine boats and over 250 trained officers and we expect 50 more officers to join us from the training school later this year. These are obvious provisions that would enable the Command to be more resolute in its activities,” he added.
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