By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
Operatives attached to Ogun 1 Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have intercepted a total 1,245 ammunition hidden inside smuggled bags of rice, New Nigerian Newspapers has learnt.
The consignment was said to have been intercepted at a border area of Ogun State between Nigeria and Republic of Benin.
Comptroller Bamidele Makinde, Customs Area Controller of the command who disclosed this at a press briefing in Idiroko said his operatives made the discovery on Friday , August 11, 2023 following intelligence.
Makinde said upon recieving the intelligence on a planned smuggling of prohibited items into the country from Republic of Benin, by criminal elements resulted in 24 hour surveillance.
He described the act as a threat to national security while discouraging other traders from such unlawful practices
According to the Controller, value of the seized ammunition and rice is N17,638,145 . He added that the driver of the vehicle fled into the bush and the service has commenced investigation into the issue
Smuggled bags of rice in a car where the ammunition were discovered
He said “We swung into action by deploying our operatives on 24 hours surveillance to thwart their nefarious activities. At about 0024 hours on Friday, 12th August, 2023, the Roving B Team of the Command intercepted five old vehicles, (Toyota Camry with Chassis No. 4TIBG22KIWU312145, Toyota Camry with Chassis No. 4TIXK1263NU108237 and three Mazda 626 cars with Chassis Nos. JM2GD14H201568566, JMZGF14F201173029 and JMZGF14P20141862 respectively), loaded with 203 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each abandoned in a bush path at to Bolo Junction, close to an exit point to the Republic of Benin, and near Ijoun, Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, Nigeria. The drivers who were suspected to have been hinted at the movement of our operatives, escaped through the bush of the said area, in order to evade arrest.
“:During examination of the seized vehicles and the item, about 1,245 rounds of 70mm (2¾“) live ammunition of Lion, Trust, Supreme and Redstar branded cartridges were found to have been ingeniously concealed in 20 bags of the intercepted foreign rice. While considering the potential danger of ammunition of such magnitude if successfully smuggled in, we redoubled our efforts to ensure they do not find their way into the country. It is a threat to safety of the border communities and national security. We are committed to ensuring maximum security of our border lines with all sense of patriotism.
” The Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the seized ammunition and rice is N17,638,145.00 The items have been deposited for safekeeping, pending further necessary action. Investigation is ongoing to unravel the cartel responsible for the attempted smuggling of the items for arrest and prosecution” Bamidele said