NCS has condemned the killing of Officer At FOU Zone ‘A’.
9Janewshub.com.ng gathered that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS )Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘A’, has unequivocally condemned the killing of Customs personnel by unrepentant smugglers.
The Acting Controller of the Unit, Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs, made the condemnation in Lagos on Wednesday, during a press briefing.
He said smuggled items worth a total Duty Paid Value (DPV ) of N767,633,458.50 were seized by the Unit in the month of March 2022.
He added that 23 suspects were arrested at various points in connection with smuggling activities
DC Ejibunu disclosed while displaying the seizures and suspects newsmen that the command collected N89,347,365.25 as revenue within the period.
While frowning at smugglers’ recalcitrant behaviour to always engage in illegalities, the Controller said operatives of the unit will always be unrelenting in “our 24 hour patrols to intercept any means of conveyance of smuggled items, seized them and arrests suspects involved in the act.”
He added that the fight against smuggling will always be reinvigorated to sustain the tempo of economic protection and prevention of dangerous goods from entering the country through any entry point in the South West.
He condemned the gruesome killing of Inspector of Customs A. Onwegbuzie by suspected smugglers in Ogun State while discharging his official duties and said the long arms of the law will catch up with such murderers who dumped the murdered officer’s body in a pit
The unit has also declared an onslaught against illegal bunkering activities which is evident in the seizure of petroleum products by a designated team against it.
Smugglers, according to him will always face stiff confrontation as the unit will never be deterred by the attacks and recent killing of one officer in the line of duty.
DC Ejibunu said “The fight against smuggling is becoming more and more intense and fierce due to increased level of crime. Smugglers are more determined than ever before to confront officers on patrol even unprovoked.
“This new wave of daring attitude of smugglers has claimed the lives of many officers; the latest being the hacking to death with machete of Inspector of Customs Onwuegbuzie A. along Senator Road, Ilaro axis of Ogun State after making a seizure on Wednesday 2nd March, 2022.
“The officer was not only gruesomely murdered but his body was dumped in a deep pit. Interestingly, newspapers were not awash with the report of the incident. Were it the other way round, there would have been noise everywhere.
“Nevertheless, with the timely arrival of other patrol teams, three suspects were arrested in connection with the murder, 78 bags of smuggled parboiled rice at 50kg each and six motorcycles were equally seized.
“On Wednesday 9th March, 2022, a patrol team uncovered several rice barns in a thick bush behind Dangote Cement Factory in Ogun State. The discovery which was made in the night, triggered gunshots from smugglers directed at officers. Officers never bulged and in the morning, evacuated 845 bags of foreign parboiled rice to the Station.
“Another attack took place on Wednesday 16th March, 2022, along Oyan-Oni-Chain, Idere at Ibarapa area of Oyo State after making seizure of 105 bags of foreign parboiled rice at 50kg each. During that attack which was repelled, a fleeing smugglers dropped his locally made pump action rifle with four cartridges which the team brought to the Station.
“In the same vein, a team that intercepted two Toyota Camry vehicles laden with 86 bags of smuggled parboiled rice at 50kg each along Owode/Idiroko road of Ogun State was again attacked by smugglers.
“The team not only secured the seizure but it also repelled the attackers during which one was shot in the leg and arrested alongside his dane gun and one cutlass. The suspect is currently receiving treatment, but under guard. You can now see the number of attacks just for the month of March, 2022, alone.
“The situation we have on our hands requires all hands to be on deck. It therefore behoves on all of us to fight this common and dangerous enemy called smuggling” the Acting Controller said.
He also called on members of the public to share credible information with the service that could forestall smuggling activities and lead to arrest of more smugglers.
A breakdown of the seizures include 6,747 bags of foreign parboiled rice at 50kg each equivalent to eleven (11) trailers load; 68,225 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) equivalent to more than two (2) tankers; 2,150 cartons of frozen poultry products ; 526 bales of second-hand clothing, 447 parcels (2,056kg) of Cannabis sativa (Indian hemp) 927 pieces of used pneumatic tyres 781 pieces of used compressors 256 pieces of imported vegetable oil at 5 litres each 825 cartons and 108 pieces of Tin Tomatoes 34 units of used motorcycles 1,950 pairs of used shoes 662 cartons of wine, 20 cartons and 164 bottles of unregistered drugs 13 fairly used vehicles smuggled across land borders 59 sacks of used bags 17 sacks of used shoes.
Five of the arrested suspects were granted administrative bail while 18 others are at various stages of investigation ahead of likely prosecution.