The Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has confiscated 43 Jumbo bags of Cannabis worth N250, 000, 000 (two hundred and fifty million naira) at the Agbara/Badagry axis smuggled into the country from Ghana.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Yusuf Umar who disclosed this while conducting journalists round the seizure alongside the Zonal Coordinator, Zone A of the NCS, Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) Charles Edike siad that the seizure was made possible following an intelligence report that some smugglers would be smuggling the cannabis into the country from Ghana.
Umar informed that on getting the intelligence, they quickly mobilized to the area and arrested the boat carrying the cannabis while the suspects as usual jumped into the water ti evade arrest.
He said,”Thereafter, the patrol team waited for a while to see if they will swim up but to no avail. The officers had to bring the cannabis to the base, hence no suspects were arrested. The cannabis was packed in 43 Jumbo bags worth N250, 000, 000. 00 (two hundred and fifty million naira)”.
While revealing that the seizure of the cannabis was the fourth in the last six, he however pledged the determination of the command to continue to fight smuggling activities as Lon as the smugglers refused to turn away from their nefarious activities.
In a related development, Comptroller Umar has said that the Western Marine Command had done tremendously well in improving the seizure profile of the command since he assumed office as the Area Controller in December 2014.
He stated that the command had so far made several seizures for the year 2016 which he said was valued at N3, 358, 835, 450. 00 (three billion, three hundred and fifty-eight million, eight hundred and thirty-five thousand and four hundred and fifty naira) with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3, 383, 206, 242. 00 (three billion, three hundred and eighty- three million, two hundred and six thousand, two hundred and forty-two naira).
The Customs boss averred that the figure was against a total number of thirteen seizures valued at six million, five hundred and seventy-five thousand, seven hundred and ninety naira (N6, 575, 790. 00) and Duty Paid Value (DPV) of eight million, eight thousand, three naira (N8, 8000, 003. 00) made in the same period of 2015.
He therefore appreciated the management of the Service under the leadership of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) who he said had been very supportive and focused on eradicating smuggling throughout the country.
“This support has been the force of motivation for officers and men of the command”, he said.
Reacting to the seizure, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service, ACG Charles Edike noted that he was not surprised at the seizure as he had followed the antecedent of the Controller adding that wherever he(Umar) was posted, he always perform.
Edike added that it could only take a dedicated and purposeful leadership to make that kind of seizure saying,” and of course, we know that the borders had been tightened, Seme, Idiroko axis, Ibadan, Oyo/Osun, all those places had been tightened and so they don’t have any other place to follow apart from the waters and of course, we know it that you are here, that they won’t be able to escape you”.
He continued, “for you to have impounded 46 Jumbo bags and these are the samples of the cannabis, this time from Ghana that you intercepted, we are saying thank you for a job well done and also we know the kind of harm this would have done to our society because we don’t know how many men and women that will begin to smoke these things and begin to turn left so to say.
“So, we cannot thank you enough, this is not your first time, I am sure this is about the fourth time we have been here to witness the seizures of marijuana, of course outside frozen poultry or foreign parboiled rice and then petroleum products you have been seizing. We just want to appreciate you and ask you not to be tired and also to let you know that these smugglers this season want to see whether there are loopholes where they can exploit and then bring in items like these”.
He therefore urged the CAC to be on alert even much more than he had been before now so that he would always be three steps ahead of the smugglers and their antics.
Also speaking, the Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base (FOB) of the Nigerian Navy, Badagry, Commodore Simon Dogo said that he base acted in accordance with the Act setting them up section 219 which stated that the Navy should always provide support to customs and that was what they had done.
He maintained that but for their support in providing escort for the customs officers that conveyed the seizure from Badagry to the Western Marine headquarters, the owners of the seized items would have done the contrary.
He however pledged to continually support the customs in ensuring that smuggling is a thing of the past in the country.
Highlight of the ceremony was the award of honour presented to 7 customs officers for their gallantry and valour in the fight against smuggling in Nigeria.
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