The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, said 44 people have been arrested in connection with N30 billion worth of smuggled goods, consisting of rice, illicit drugs, used tyres, vehicles, among others.
The FOU said the suspects were arrested over 142,677 seizures made spanning from January 1, 2021 to date.
Disclosing this to the media at the unit’s headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos State, the acting Comptroller of FOU Zone A, Usman Yahaya, said the unit intercepted smuggled foreign rice, used vehicles, textile materials, as well as Indian hemp, worth over N30bn.
According to Yahaya, the unit also intercepted N51m worth of fake and unregistered pharmaceuticals in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, and parcels of Indian hemp allegedly smuggled from Ghana to Iseyin in Oyo State.
“After the opening of the Seme border by the federal government, the smugglers thought they could cash in on it to perpetrate their evil acts, but the unit has left them with heavy losses as evidenced in the seizures.”
The Customs boss stated.
A trader who spoke to National Light on the development, Cletus Muokwulu says, it will amount to penny wise, pound foolish for any trader to risk their hard earned money in the name of smuggling items into the country with the intention of making gains only to lose it all at the door steps of the ever-vigilant men of the Nigerian Customs.
“This is a very difficult time and everyone’s action should be well guided. You cannot escape COVID-19 challenges only to be dragged down by the law against smuggling, when you can avoid it.”
He cautioned traders to be wiser and shun any sharp practices that could put their businesses in harm’s way.