The Federal Operations Unit, Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service disclosed that it intercepted materials used for the production of explosive devices, cannabis sativa, and other contrabands with a duty paid value of N1.6bn between July and September.
In a statement signed on Monday by the Public Relations Officer of the zone, Jerry Attah, the acting Customs Area Controller in charge of the zone, Kayode Kolade, disclosed this while addressing journalists at the government warehouse, in Benin City, Edo State.
He said that during the period under review, nine suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.
Kolade, who frowned at the spate of smuggling in the zone, said N54.2m was recovered by the zone from demand notices raised based on some infractions noticed, as they raked in a cumulative sum of N1.6bn during the period.
“Other contrabands seized included 417 sacks of cannabis sativa also known as Indian hemp weighing 9; 194kg and 627 compressed parcels of the same Indian hemp one kg each totalling 627kg, nine sacks of explosives’ raw materials (fertilizer, device cables, and superpower90 chemicals) 50kg each; 1,329 bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice 50kg each,” he said.
“Five cartons of DSP Cough Syrup with Codeine 100mg, containing 1000 bottles; 1 unit of armored bullion van; 761 jumbo bales of second-hand clothing; 883 cartons of various unregistered/expired medicaments, including tramadol, 100 cartons of various wines; 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tires; 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste; 300 cartons of foreign spaghetti, among others.” Kolade narrated.
The area controller stated that the contrabands were intercepted at different locations under the jurisdiction of the zone.
According to him, “The rice was intercepted along Calabar/Akwa Ibom axis and Okada/Benin Expressway, the 417 sacks and 627 parcels of Indian hemp were intercepted at Okada-Benin and Ewu-Auchi Expressway respectively. 761 Jumbo bales of used clothing mostly concealed in trucks and buses were intercepted along Umeikaa/Aba Road and Okada-Benin road.” he explained.
He expressed worry over the smuggling of explosives adding that the country has continued to grapple with the challenges associated with insecurity.
Kolade warned smugglers to desist forthwith in the interest of humanity or have the law to contend with.
“We all know the security implications if these explosives components get to their destination unchecked. It may interest you to know that Superpower 90 is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting. The high detonation velocity and the robust nature of Superpower 90 make it an ideal primer for the initiation of column charge. Let us not just imagine if dynamites and landmines are detonated using these items” he said.
The controller however warned all economic saboteurs who plan to use the ember period for their nefarious acts to have a rethink as the service will make sure they count their losses.
“No amount of distraction will stop us from carrying out our statutory responsibilities not even in the face of attacks we encountered this month by some sponsored elements,” Kolade said.
According to him, “Based on prompt intelligence and sting operation, the rice was intercepted along Calabar/Akwa Ibom axis and Okada/Benin Expressway, the 417 sacks and 627 parcels of Indian hemp were intercepted at Okada-Benin and Ewu-Auchi Expressway respectively. 761 jumbo bales of used clothing mostly concealed in trucks and buses were intercepted along Umeikaa/Aba Road and Okada-Benin Road,” he explained.
“The five cartons of DSP cough syrup with codeine, and 883 cartons of unregistered medicaments were intercepted along Benin/Asaba/Onitsha Expressway while the armoured bullion van without customs documents and end users certificate was intercepted along Okada/Benin Expressway. 100 cartons of wine and 335 tomato paste were intercepted along Ewu/Ibilo axis, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres were also intercepted along Cross River waterside and Okada-Benin Expressway,” he added.