News Updates | Customs Impounds 500 Bags Of Rice At Idiriko

Customs Impounds 500 Bags Of Rice At Idiriko

Bags of rice worth N3 million have been seized at the Idiroko border after a confrontation between Customs officers and smugglers.

The smugglers went wild with rage as the Area comptroller of Customs in Iiroko, Mr. Rasheed Taiwo, mobilized his men to mount an offensive against the smugglers at Ipokia market in Ogun State.

The area comptroller denied allegation that his command was a notorious smuggling point, noting that, "Because everybody who is anybody, knows my stand on smuggling and smugglers."

He said that the smugglers from Benin Republic , adding that even though rice had not been banned by the government, the Customs decided to impound the smuggled items because his importers did not pay duty.

He said: “The government says if you import rice, pas through the ports and pay duty. The duty on rice is about 120 per cent. A bag of rice here may cost N2, 500 and N6000 in Lagos . The profit margin accounts for the die hard posture of these men.

“We have been able to fight hard and stand firm and today, I can beat my chest and say that the demand for turkey has gone down.

"People no longer see turkey the way they saw it before, because we went on a campaign to confirm to the people that turkey is poison. We seized a luxury bus loaded with turkey. Even the luggage chambers were filled up with I".

The Comptroller explained that items such as turkey which were banned, but were seized, were kept in the warehouse of the organization and were destroyed in the presence of NAFDAC, SSS, Police and veterinary quarantine officials.

He said: “When all those who should witness the burial were present, we pulled off the nylon used in covering the turkey. Every fly that perched on the turkey, died instantly because of the chemical used in preserving the turkey.

"If you go to our local abattoirs, you would see flies perching here and there but they do not die. We realized that the chemical in the turkey will also affect us the way it affect us the way it affects the flies. We carried our campaign to television, radio and newspapers and today, people do not care for turkey again, "he added.

While explaining recent seizure made by the agencies, the comptroller said, “When we impounded the rice this morning, we did nit make any arrests because we did not route. Everybody here is a smuggler.

“One person was shot on the leg because he was part of a crowd that attacked Customs men with machetes, sticks and other dangerous weapons, definitely, when we have such attacks, such things happen.

"If there had been no gunshots, by now, I do not know how many corpses you would have seen on the street,. That had been happening in the past but now, I will not allow it."

Taiwo said that Idiroko border was the only border within the western axis, where indigenes who have lived here engaged in smuggling which was thriving following military involvement in politics.

He lamented the involvement of children in smuggling, saying, "here, children in junior secondary school (Jss I and II) drive cars and buses. Their belief is that if one can bring a car into the country and make about N5, 000 profit on it, by the time one is able to bring in about five such vehicles, the profit is N25, 000".

"This fellow who makes N26, 000 a week, at the end of the month, would be talking of N100,000. This is the problem,. This place is quite different from Maiduguri . We have so many borders in Bornue and Katsina. They do not have sea ports in countries that border the,. Here, we have ports in Togo , Lome , Tema, and Accra in Ghana . This explains why Idiroko is like this".

He called on the government of Benin Republic to check the excesses of their people who engage in smuggling, saying, "I was in President Obasanjo's team that went to Benin Republic to ask their President to restrain his people who aid smuggling into Nigeria. Obasanjo told them he was prepared to close the border at any time, if their smuggling activities are not curbed".

"The commodities are not usually consigned to Nigerians but the goods are discharged on those other areas and the people now start looking for ways of bringing them into Nigeria ."

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