Customs intercepts N2 billion worth of contraband, arrests smuggling suspects

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The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone B, reported the seizure of contraband items valued at approximately N2 billion from January 2024 to the present date.

Comptroller Dalha Chedi conveyed this information on Friday in Kaduna during a briefing with journalists, highlighting the command’s steadfast efforts in combating smuggling during the specified period.

”They made several seizures of 27 different items, ranging from used foreign shoes, foreign parboiled rice, second-hand clothing, expired milk, and juice powder, among others,” said Mr Chedi.

Mr Chedi said the operatives also intercepted one truck conveying 179 bags of tiger nuts (50 kg each) based on intelligence along the Maigatari/Malamfatori/Bimiwa axis of Jigawa.

He also said operatives impounded three trucks along Gumel to Kano Road in Jigawa.

According to Mr Chedi, the arrest was made following information shared by the intelligence network of the NCS Headquarters in Abuja on the suspicion that they were conveying prohibited items.

The comptroller said the three trucks contained 5076 cartons of foreign soap, 703 bales of foreign second-hand clothing, 925 cartons of macaroni, 320 bales of foreign textiles, and 12 jumbo sacks of foreign used shoes.

Mr Chedi said two suspects were arrested and detained at the Kano-Jigawa command in connection with the seizures, and they have been granted administrative bail pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

He explained that other items seized within the period under review based on credible intelligence along Tsafe-Funtua Road in Zamfara included one truck on suspicion of improper importation.

Mr Chedi said, “Further examination revealed that the truck was conveying 75 cartons of expired foreign jolly juice powder and eight sacks of foreign milk powder that were found to have expired since 2019.”

He said the milk was unfit for human consumption, adding, ”It was concealed with sacks of dried hides and skin.”

Other items seized within this period under review were 237 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50 kg each), 1837 cartons of foreign spaghetti, macaroni, and couscous, and 1707 jerry cans of premium motor spirits (PMS), 25 litres each.

Mr Chedi also listed other seized items, including sachets of Amoxicillin, Artesunate, 500 mg, 35 cartons of flame lighters, and 2089 cartons of foreign dates.

Others were 142 cartons of Yes cigarettes and 810 pieces of foreign used tyres, with many vehicles deposited at various customs formations in the zone, among others.

According to him, foreign dates and tiger nuts, by their nature as edible and perishable goods, would be auctioned in line with Paragraph 15(b) of the Schedule of the Nigeria Customs Service Act No. 35, 2023.

He said, “These seizures were made as a result of the contravention of several sections of the NCS Act 2023 and the breach of existing presidential directives on border closure.”

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