Prohibited items worth N98, 318,760 allegedly smuggled into Kwara and Niger State, three weeks ago, have been seized by the joint border drill operations in the North Central zone.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, on Thursday, coordinator of the joint operations in the North Central zone, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, said that the items include 1,437 bags of foreign parboiled rice of (50kg each) “of which 430 Bags were found concealed in bags of onions, maize, millet and beans with duty paid value of N24, 429,000.”
Garba said that other items seized include 25 units of vehicles of various types, 494 tin tomatoes, 18 bales of second-hand clothing and 15 sacks of secondhand shoes, adding that the seizures were made around Jebba-Mokwa, Okuta, Alapa and Kotangora axis of the sector.
The Total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the Itemised seized goods is Eight Hundred And Two Million, Five Hundred and Forty-Two Naira Five Hundred and Forty Naira (802, 542, 540.00)
“During the period under review, we have arrested 23 suspects in connection to smuggling and 160 illegal migrants repatriated. We also engaged our stakeholders through press briefings, meetings some of which include IPMAN, PTD, Traders, Market women, Textile and Shoe dealers Association.
“We also paid a courtesy visit to Executive Governors of Kwara State, Emir of Ilorin, Emir of Kaiama and as well as operational tours to Ilesha-Baruba and Gwanara axis of the sector.
“The fight against smuggling activities in the North Central axis will continue to receive a sustained momentum that will lead to more seizures and enforcement of Federal Government directives towards curtailing s5muggling activities.
“I, therefore, stress the need for all illicit traders to desist from all illegal trades and try to engage in legitimate businesses.
“We want to reiterate to all economic saboteurs and their accomplices that Joint Border Operations Drill Sector 3, will continue to emplace efforts to ensure that any items found to be prohibited will be seized and offenders will be sanctioned accordingly. Officers and men involved in this national assignment have been mandated and tasked to work tirelessly and confront challenges that militate against our successes; we will continue to build on the achievement made so far in the course of carrying on our mandate.
“It is noteworthy that the Federal Government has made significant strides to encourage local production. Therefore, all members of the populace are encouraged to take advantage of Federal Government visible effort transforming the Agricultural sector, especially in the area of rice production and its efforts towards the industrialisation of the economy.
Sector 3 has also made significant efforts to enlighten and inform the general public of the negative consequences of consuming imported rice with its hazardous health implications.
“I also want to appeal to the general public to embrace legitimate means of livelihood and to avoid smuggling of prohibited items that are inimical to attaining the vision of having a healthy and economically viable society.
“However, our resolve to deal with perpetrators and saboteurs of this agenda remains unshaken. I want to assure the public that Sector 3 is committed to paving the necessary platform to achieve Federal Government objectives of the border closure.
“We will not relent on our concerted effort at ensuring that smuggling activities are brought to the barest minimum within the sector and the country at large.”
The Sector implores Nigerians to cooperate with its operatives to allow for the socio-economic growth of the country to provide the needed employment for our teeming population.
“Finally, Gentlemen of the Press, in other to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Government has announced for the total closure of all land borders, we at the sector 3 are committed to enforcing this to the latter,” it said.