*Comptroller thanks military for interagency collaboration
By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Basking in the euphoria of an Intel provided by the military leading to the interception and seizure of 758 bales of foreign used clothing popularly known as Okrika, the Comptroller, Comptroller Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Unit (FOU) Zone B, Albashir B. Hamisu has commended the Nigerian military for collaboration that exposed the smugglers.
Comptroller Hamisu disclosed this while briefing the press in a monthly ritual, held yesterday at the FOU Zone B headquarters in Kaduna.
He explained that a lot of success was achieved within the period under review with 132 seizures of 17 items valued at over N690m.
“Smugglers are getting sophisticated but by collaboration, we will continue to get them.
“The quantum of goods seized include 758 bales and sacks of foreign used clothes, which was intercepted through information gathered from the military.
“This is a big catch through the land border, because the federal government has good plans for Nigeria. If these are allowed to come in, our textiles would not survive,” he said
According to him, 749 bags of foreign rice worth over N37m were intercepted and seized.
“If we allow these to come in, our factories will not survive and you know the federal government is committed to the growth of our agricultural sector and is even giving loans to farmers to thrive, so we cannot let anyone import rice,” he said.
FOU Zone B Comptroller said that the seized rice is worth N113m, adding that 533 cartons of foreign spaghetti and macaroni worth over N3m, were also seized, as well as 473 cartons of foreign pharmaceutical products worth over N70m.
“A layman may wonder why we intercept spaghetti, but we have several producers of spaghetti. FG stopped importation of spaghetti to strengthen the economy and create jobs. In view of this, let them go to Customs formation to find out things they can import. So that they don’t waste their investments,” he said.
On the 24 units of used vehicles seized, he explained that four were means of conveyance, while 20 were improperly imported into the country.
He said importation of cars is not banned in Nigeria, but can only be allowed in through the airport or seaport, where appropriate duties are paid.
“I know sometimes, the victims of these are being deceived by some dubious businessmen by not telling them the truth. The general public must be rightly informed to stop the wasting of their investments. Some of those vehicles seized are worth over N54m, the Hilux vehicles here, you cannot get any less than N25m,” he said.
Another seizure he was excited about was that of 70 parcels of marijuana, worth over N2m.
Similarly, he said 59 jerry cans of vegetable oil and 41 bags of foreign fertilizers worth over N2m were also seized in the period under review.
Also on display, were 12 cartons of foreign cigarettes, eight sacks of foreign used shoes, 116 cartons of foreign female shoes and 245 pieces of used foreign tyres.
After the handing over of seized cannabis, Asst Commander Narcotics from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ali. Ado Kubau, thanked FOU Zone B for the seizure, which he described as very important.
” I was here weeks back to collect similar substance. This is a seizure, that ensures everybody goes to sleep. This is what propels bandits to unleash whatever terror. They even request Indian Hemp part of condition to release victims kidnapped.
“I want to commend the NCS for this, it is a wonderful seizure, we will continue to work together to ensure everyone goes to sleep with two eyes closed,” he said.
When asked what happens to the previous seizures in NDLEA custody, he explained that there stores are filled up.
Our stores at the moment are filled up with exhibits and we are waiting for approval to embark on destruction of the exhibits. Once your store is stockpiled, you get permission from the courts to destroy. It goes through several process, we conduct investigation to ensure it is exactly what it is, we destroy it,” he said.