… 7 under arrest
By Sandra Chukwunyere
The Nigeria Customs Strike Force led by the ace anti-smuggling czar, DC Abdullahi Musa Kirawa, working on credible intelligence information, seized various contraband items worth N9 billion, between November and December, 2018. About seven persons were arrested during the operation and they are being investigated by the Federal Operations Unit of the Service.
DC Kirawa at a Press Conference called to announce the seizures, said that his officers and men confiscated 195 sacks of Pangolin scales weighing 7,560 kg, reputed to be endangered by officials of the Wild Life Conservation. Also, the International Union for Conservation of Animals has listed eight species of animals as being endangered and two are critical including Pangolins. The street value of the seizure is put at N8, 391,600,000.00 (Eight Billion, Three Hundred and Ninety One Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira Only).
A kilogram of Pangolin scales go for N1,1100,000 ($3,000) and is highly sought after in Europe and Asia for its delicacy. On 10th November, 2010, the Geological Society listed Pangolins as a specie to handle with care or it will go into extinction.
From the combined efforts of officers in Benin, Calabar, Ogun State and Imoke in Kwara State, they seized 8,090 bags of 50kg parboiled rice with a DPV of N113, 260,000. The rice was concealed in a haulage truck meant for carrying cement and another for carrying beer products.
Kirawa stated that although rice was not a banned commodity but “if you must import rice, it must come through the seaports”, where the customs duties and levies must be duly paid by the importer.
He noted that those who smuggle rice through the land borders do so to evade tax and are saboteurs.
The no-nonsense officer urged smugglers to take advantage of government’s various incentives to go into rice farming to grow the commodity in the country.
Also seized were 404 pieces of used tyres valued at N2, 020, 000 in a 40FT container disguised as pharmaceutical products. They also seized 1,200 cartons of Herogra 200 (a family of Tramadol), a sex enhancing drug without NAFDAC certification. It has a DPV of N360,000,000.
The eagled eyed enforcement officers also seized a truck carrying Dynamite but disguised as factory machinery. According to Kirawa, to import these fireworks and crackers, an importer has to present End User Certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser.
Besides these, kegs of vegetable oil and 22 Bales of Second Hand clothing with a DPV of N22, 950,000 were seized and deposited at the Government Warehouse, Ikeja.
DC Kirawa thanked the CGC, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) for his continued support, motivation, provision of logistics and welfare for officers and men, all of which have given them the impetus to continue to wage the anti smuggling war on criminals and economic saboteurs.