The Nigeria Customs Service has warned of stiffer penalties for those engaged in smuggling stressing that henceforth those caught in such nefarious act as well as threatening the lives of Custom officers in course of their duty will faces capital punishment when apprehended.
The Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ Owerri , Kayode Olusemire who stated this while briefing newsmen in Owerri, Imo State, stated that some smugglers on sighting Customs check point on the highways usually open fire on them to get away with their goods, warning that such die-hard smugglers if arrested would henceforth face capital punishment.
He noted that smuggling of prohibited items and non compliance with rules apart from stifling the growth and sustenance of local industries, also deals a devastating blow on the nation’s economy while promoting crime and criminality in the country.
Comptroller Olusemire use the occasion to displayed sundry banned products smuggled into the country by those he described as desperate fortune seekers.
The items include: assorted state of the art cars comprising four (4) Mercedes Benz, 4matic cars of various models such as DPVs, Ford ENDAE Range Rover Evogue (2013 model and Toyota Venza (2010) model. He put price value of cars at one hundred and sixty two million, one hundred thousand naira, (N162,100,000). Also a total of 1,572,000 bags of 50 kg foreign rice worth N31 million was seized by the command.
Others items displayed were: 25 wraps of cannabis sativa valued at N300,000, fake pharmaceutical drugs worth N33,440.000, pieces of used tyres and compressors, 112 bales of second hand clothing, cartons of codeine and tramadol, spirit, beer, 96 pieces of steel doors, vegetable oil, mushroom sauce, noodles and spices among others.
The Comptroller stated that some of the smuggled bags of rice had been in the silos for between 5 and 6 years before the were brought into the country, others were criminally concealed in GP tanks by the smugglers to beat Customs security check points on the roads.
His words, “We are battle ready for smugglers because we are now better equipped, trained and re-trained, mobilized and motivated and so with our ingenuity, we were able to arrest them”.
Comptroller Olusemire revealed that six suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures and had been granted administrative bail to be followed with judicial process.