The Oyo/Osun Command of the Nigeria Customs Services has intercepted a bullion van meant for conveying money fully loaded with bags of imported rice, as well as other six buses fully loaded with said commodity.
The command said this was made possible because it was keeping to its resolve of increasing revenue profile of the command while reducing incidence of smuggling through its initiated new anti-smuggling strategies which also led to the seizure of several assorted cars including Toyota SUVs and Range Rovers.
While briefing newsmen on Tuesday at the command’s headquarters in Ibadan, the Oyo/Osun Area Controller of the Customs, Mr Tolutope Ogunkua, said it was worrisome to note that some Nigerians were still unrepentant even as they continued to lose.
He said not even the Federal Government’s visible efforts in transforming the agricultural sector, especially in the area of rice production, as well as increase in prevalence of expired imported rice with its hazardous health effects had touched their conscience to avoid rice smuggling.
“However, our resolve to deal with them remains unshaken, moreso now that the present management has directed thorough investigation with a view to prosecuting those found connected to this illicit act.
On the interception of the bullion van, the Customs boss disclosed “the arrest of a bullion van meant for conveying cash now used in concealing smuggled imported bags of rice should send a serious signal to recalcitrant saboteurs of the Nigerian economy that there is no hiding place for them. “This van was seized around Saki axis of Oyo State. At first, acting on security intelligence, our men deployed in the area were attacked and had to retreat to reinforce and we were able to arrest two suspects in connection with this act.
“We are determined to beat all their concealment patterns with our superior intelligence network,” he said.
While stressing the fact that the Federal Government had nothing against importation of rice, as well as cars, Ogunkua maintained that they should be through sea ports and not land borders, as they do so to evade duties.
“The recalcitrant ones who still insist on engaging in the illicit business of smuggling should be well advised that they would not escape the long arm of the law, especially as yuletide approaches,” he disclosed.