The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service in Ikeja said on Wednesday that it intercepted 8,000 bags of smuggled rice over which the Federal Government would have lost N44 million as Import Duty.
Mr Uche Ejesieme, the command’s Public Relations Officer said that Customs officers intercepted the smuggled rice in a wooden boat on the Badagry creeks.
“There was a marching order from the Comptroller-General of Customs, Dr Abdulahi Dikko, to the effect that rice smuggling through the land border be effectively checked.
“The seizure was a result of the dexterity, doggedness and the resilience of our officers through careful strategic planning and coordination.
“It took the officers 13 days; they were on the trail of these smugglers based on intelligence reports.
“I want to appreciate the role played by the Baale of Gbaji Yeke, Chief Emmanuel Kuwakalu, and his subjects that assisted in effecting the seizure; don’t forget that these communities in those days, were seen as very hostile places.
“Surprisingly, because of the enlightenment programme which was the strategy of the Controller, Federal Operations, Inuwa Muhammed Abubakar, it actually paid off.”
Ejesieme told NAN that three suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure and advised smugglers to desist from their nefarious acts.
“Our advice is that they should channel some of these resources to something more useful and meaningful because for us, as far as they continue to bring them, we’ll continue to seize them.
“So, for them not to lose their hard-earned money, we advise that they should channel them to some other things.
“There so many things they can do that are actually very legitimate apart from smuggling.
“They can set up poultry farms; they can engage themselves in mechanised farming.
“They can do so many things instead of engaging in the something that you know at the end of the day you will lose to the Federal Government.
“We are not relenting, we are very steadfast, we are very focused and we will continue to wreak havoc on them for as long as they continue to bend the rules.’’ (NAN)