The Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, (FOU), Zone A Ikeja over the weekend intercepted N1.5 billion worth of petroleum products on the verge of being smuggled out of the country to Benin Republic.
The petroleum product sandwiched in about 12 wooden speed boats had about 50,000 Jerry cans set to be smuggled from Ijofin creek under Ipokia local government of Ogun State.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP yesterday at the creek where the petroleum products were intercepted, the assistant comptroller – general of customs, Zone A, Aminu Dahiru, who was accompanied by the customs area controller of FOU Zone A, Compt. Mohammed Aliyu, and controller of Ogun Command, Michael Agbara, said the interception were made after days of intelligence gathering by officers of the unit.
According to him, exportation of petroleum products through the creeks is an illegal trade and the service would continue to deal with it.
“This is a big seizure and it needed to be showcased because of the size and the volume involved.
“The 11,000 Jerry cans that were evacuated worth and in addition there is more than triple of it in the creeks about to be snuggled out of the country so we thought it’s time to show Nigerians on activities of economic saboteurs and how we are dealing ruthlessly with them,” he said.
Speaking on how the seizures were made, Dahiru said, “This is an unimaginable seizures made by officers. Since it is a petroleum products we do not expect it to be smuggled into Nigeria so naturally it is going out also part of what you saw in the morning at the FOU, Zone A, Ikeja came from this point. This can confirm what i say that what we have in the water triple what we have at FOU.”
Even though, the ACG was unable to give a correct number of the seized products, a reliable source who was instrumental to the seizure of said it worth over 50,000 Jerry cans.
According to the officer who doesn’t want his name in print, “If three boats could carry 11,000 Jerry cans and we have about nine boats left yet to be evacuated, then we should have about 39,000 left in the creek.
But, speaking on number of seizures, Dahiru said. “We are sure of what we have at FOU because that gave us exactly 11,000 Jerrycans of petroleum products and what we have here is more than what we have there. What have been evacuated is just a pinch but, the value can only be determined if we know the quantity but the other one at the FOU, we are able to arrive at N40 million because we multiplied numbers of kegs to numbers of litres to arrive at that.”
On the officers that made the spectacular seizures, the zone A customs boss promised to write a report to the CG recommending reward.
“What I have to say is that on the side of officers, a report has to be written and in this report we can create a kind of attention for them and we will explain how they have to set up surveillance, and other strategies to get this seizure but definitely this is not a small feat.”
Corroborating the ACG, the CAC of the unit, Comptroller Mohammed Aliyu , was optimistic the comptroller- general of customs could give officers involved automatic promotion.
“What I can tell my men is that they should guard this seizures and like the ACG said, we will write our recommendation and don’t be surprise the CGC can promote all of them,” he assured the officers.