BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday intercepted 42 drums of calcium carbide smuggled into the country from Benin Republic.
The Unit also said that the service is backed by section 158 of Customs Excise and Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45,LFN 2004 as amended to patrol and search everywhere without restrictions while section 147 of the same CEMA empower the service to enter any premises without search warrant provided there is credible information about contraband deposited there in.
Security experts have warned that if calcium carbide gets into the hands of criminals, it can be used as explosives to bring down a building especially when some chemical components are added to it.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, the acting Customs Area Controller of the unit, Compt. Usman Yahaya stated that aside from calcium carbide, the unit also seized contraband worth N3.1billion, raised Demand Notice (DN) worth N242 million.
The CAC who said the unit acted based on credible intelligence disclosed that the explosives were smuggled into the country through the porous borders under the Ogun State command of the service.
He said, “We intercepted the 42 drums of calcium carbide through intelligence gathering. The contrabands were in a truck and concealed with cassava tubers and flakes. They thought with the concealment, they could evade the eagle eye of our officers.
“The explosives were intercepted at Sango – Ota axis and then, we know the items are coming from Benin Republic through the unapproved routes. Calcium carbide is on the list of contrabands because it is dangerous to the nation if it gets into the hands of bad elements.”
Yahaya disclosed that the unit has set up an investigation to know where the explosives are headed but sure it was meant for a dangerous adventure.
“The calcium carbide weighs 106KG in 42 drums with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N105 million. I can assure you that the smugglers have no good intention because if they did, they wouldn’t have concealed and smuggled it through the border.”
“Everyone should be worried about smuggling because it begets unemployment, drug addiction, criminality, proliferating light and small arms, substandard goods, and so on. You can imagine what would have happened if 42 drums of Carbide (explosives) had entered wrong hands,” he said.