Men of the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri have recorded yet another special success in its bid to eradicate smuggling through its area of operation as they have impounded a 1 X 40” container with number MRKU 254564 loaded with 1,017 sacks of 50kg cannabis (Indian hemp) estimated at over N16 million on the Benin-Shagamu road early in this month.
According to him, the only suspect – James idoko who claimed to be a student upon interrogation attempted to deceive the Customs men by fraudulently presenting copies of suspected fake customs processed document on importation which was contrary to what was contained in the container.
The unit in a press statement by its spokesperson, Onuigbo Ifeoma quoted the Comptroller in charge of the unit ,Mohammed Uba Garba as having disclosed that the suspect offered a bribe of N350,000.00 in an attempt to avoid arrest.
Lamenting that the increasing tempo of criminality, violence and juvenile delinquency among the youth is traceable to the rampant consumption of hard drugs such as marijuana hence the clamp down on those involved in the illicit business, the Comptroller hinted that the suspect is presently in custody with the bribe money which is expected to serve as an exhibit along with the container load of cannabis during prosecution in court.
The unit also announced that it intercepted a trailer truck with registration number GBB 85 XA suspected to be carrying adulterated diesel petroleum product which causes blockages of heavy duty machines and generators, which equally emit hazardous carbon monoxide, that are detrimental to the health.
According to the Customs Area Controller in charge of the unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, the exhibit was discovered to have been hidden in a specially constructed tank for illegal bunkering and also concealed with 256 sacks of expired animal feeds to evade arrest
Comptroller Mohammed said that a suspect who gave his name as Chibuzor Njoku was arrested in connection with the crime and would be handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil defense corps for prosecution.
Meanwhile, as a display of the inter agency cooperation amongst the agencies in charge of security,The Customs Controller has handed over the seized items and the suspect to the Officer (Operation and Intelligence) of the NDLEA Edo State Command, Timothy Adewole for further investigation assuring that the NCA would continue to collaborate and work in synergy with sister organizations such as NDLEA, NSCDC, NAFDAC to smoothen its operations.
Comptroller Mohammed said that another MAN diesel truck with registration number KRV 238 XB carrying 725 different brand of 50 kg foreign rice with Duty Paid Value of N24,650,000. 00 suspected to have been smuggled into the country through the numerous creeks in Calabar/Cameroun border was similarly intercepted by his men on the 7th of this month.
He said that a suspect who gave his name as Mr. Fredrick Eze and claimed to be a representative of the owners of the exhibit was arrested.
The Customs Area Controller regretted that the penchant for foreign products by some Nigerians has continued to deal a devastating blow to the nation and her economy while many families have been thrown into agony as a result of the ceaseless unpatriotic activities of smugglers.
He noted that while the nation has continued to lose huge revenue, many lives have been lost consequent upon the unabated practice of smuggling.
He therefore advised Nigerians to imbibe a greater sense of patriotism in line with “the change begins with me” mantra recently launched by Mr. President by eschewing all acts and conducts inimical to the nation.