Ogun Customs Seizes 17,000 Bags Of 50Kg Rice

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By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA, Abeokuta

Ogun 1 Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Idiroko, Ogun State has recorded an unprecedented feast with the seizures of  Seventeen  thousand ( 17,000 ) bags of 50Kg of  parboiled rice within a month.

Disclosing this to news men in Abeokuta at a press briefing, the Controller of the Command, Comptroller  Peter Kolo  said never in the history of the Command that they have  recorded this quantum of
rice seizure attributing the success to good motivation by the Customs Mannagment and the efforts of the Command galant officers.

Kolo who had earlier gave the total seizures of various contraband goods in the month of March as 167 said the  duty paid value is amounted  to One Hundred and Sixteen Million, Five Hundred and Eighty Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Seven Naira, Zero Kobo
(#116,586,607.00).

“During the first quarter of this year alone (January – March
2021), Ogun 1 Area Command arrested and seized about Nineteen thousand
(19,000) bags (equivalent of 38 trailer load) of 50kg each of foreign parboiled
rice with Duty Paid Value (DPV) OF Three Hundred and Seven Million, Eight
Hundred and Ninety One Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety Six Naira, Zero
Kobo (#307,891,696.00).

Meanwhile, the Controller said the Area Command’s attention has been drawn to  a
Newspaper publication of 16th April, 2021 captioned ‘’ Despite ban, rice smuggling thrives in Lagos, Ogun’’  describing the story as untrue.

” It is a notorious fact that smuggling activities as we all know is a worldwide phenomena and Nigeria cannot be in isolation. All over
the world, security agencies only try to suppress but not totally eradicate smuggling from the society and greater suppression of these activities are achieved with greater support from the members of the public and patriotic citizens among the media.

“The reporter’s allegation that 60,000 bags of foreign rice (equivalent of 100 trailer loads) worth #200 million naira have been smuggled in the last one week is not true. This is not only a bogus claim but an exaggeration of enormous
proportion. He went further to state that he detected a warehouse in Ojuore Area
of Sango Ota after Koro-Otun and also witnessed a boat load of rice being offloaded into buses along the shores of Ere River. Let if be known that every reporter (Pressmen) has direct access to Customs Area Command’s leadership
through their respective PRO’s (Public Relation Officer), if this reporter is a patriotic citizen of Nigeria which I expected him to be, why did he not draw the
attention of the Command or other intervention Units like FOU, STRIKE FORCE, BORDER DRILL to these situations real-time so that immediate action is taken.

“His claim of compromise on the part of Custom Officers is not correct because if actually they are compromising, how are they able to arrest and seize over Seven thousand (7,000) bags (equivalent of 12 Trailer loads) of rice in one month in Ogun 1 Command alone apart from the Rice seizures made by Federal
Operations Unit, Strike Force and Border Drill Operatives from the same territory covered by his report. Why don’t the officers compromise these ones too? Let it be known to the public that apart from rice, various quantities of other
banned items are being arrested and seized by Customs operatives Kolo lamented.

“In view of the foregoing, I wish to state categorically that all the allegations in the newspaper  and the claims   are not true.

“They are a distraction, mischievous,
malicious and done with ulterior motive to derail the agricultural policy of
Government and the massive investment in the local rice production of patriotic
Nigerians and also intended to paint the Ogun 1 Area Command and certainly the
Nigeria Customs Service black in the eye of the general public in order to weaken the moral of the officers..

” Let me state here that, this Service in observance of the rules of engagement will continue with its onslaught on smugglers and other criminal elements in and around Ogun Border Communities.”Controller Kolo stressed.

He continued,” gentle Men of the Press, kindly recall our promise to prosecute any arrested suspected smugglers in our previous press briefings and releases, this has
manifested with the recent arraignment of four (4) suspected smugglers before
the Federal High Court, Abeokuta Ogun State on a Five (5) Count charges. We shall
continue to ensure that anyone caught indulging in smuggling activities and
obstruction of our Officers while carrying out their lawful duties is brought to
justice.

“The Command will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on Socio-Economic implication of smuggling as well as performing its statutory
function of enforcing compliance in line with Federal Government fiscal policies.
We wish to reiterate that the continued attack on operatives of the NCS and other
sister Agencies will not be detered,” he concluded.

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