Customs impound drums of explosives, N3.1bn contraband from Benin Republic

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Tuesday, intercepted 42 drums of calcium carbide smuggled into the country from the Benin Republic. Security experts have warned that if calcium carbide gets into the wrong hands, it can be used to make explosives to bring down a building especially when some chemical components are added to it.

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 therein.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday evening, 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 N242million.

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 can evade the eagle eye of our officers.

“The explosives ingredients were intercepted at Sango-Ota axis and then, we know the items are coming from the Benin Republic through the unapproved routes. Calcium carbide is on the list of contrabands because it is dangerous to the nation if it gets to the hands of bad elements.”

Yahaya also disclosed that the unit has set up an investigation to know where the explosives are headed.

“The calcium carbide weight 106KG in 42 drums with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N105million. 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 of 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.

Speaking further, the CAC said the unit also intercepted 1,488 kegs (the equivalent of 33,000 litres) of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) set to be smuggled out of the country to the neighbouring Benin Republic.

Other seizures range from bags of rice, Indian hemp, textiles material, cartons of tramadol, second hand clothing among others.

“Within the period of 9th February 2021 till date, the Unit recorded seizures of 20,538 bags of foreign parboiled rice; 3,106 cartons of frozen poultry product; 1,488 kegs of PMS at 25 litres each; 1,035 bales of second-hand clothing.

“77 cartons of tin tomatoes; 2,843.6 kg of Indian Hemp; 877 bundles of printed wax/textile materials; 29 different brands of used vehicles; 2,969 cartons of Eva soap; 42 drums of calcium carbide (explosives); 549 cartons of Tramadol and 12 units of used motorcycles with DPV of N3.1billion.

“In the area of interventions regarding Demand Notices arising from under-payments, the unit realized N242million during the period under review,” the acting CAC added.

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Customs impound drums of explosives, N3.1bn contraband from Benin Republic

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