By Gladys Nweke
The Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, Nigeria Customs Service, Owerri, last week intercepted 5,200 live ammunitions (cartridges of 30GR 70mm Calibre) along Ebonyi- Ikom road, Cross River State.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the unit, Mr. Jerry Attah, the various contraband goods with a duty paid value (DPV) of N379 million were intercepted between November 23rd and December 27th 2020.
Attah added that the unit through its interventions also recovered N7.6 million from demand notices on general goods that tried to cut corners from seaports in the guise of false declaration, transfer of value, and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the coffers of Federal Government of Nigeria, making a cumulative sum of N386 million within the month under review.
Addressing the press on the seizures, the Controller of the unit, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal, expressed concerns over the trends in arms and ammunition smuggling in recent times.
The controller decried series of arms smuggling into the country, making reference to the interception in Lagos in 2017, in Kwara in 2018 and just recently in Kebbi using different routes and now the interception of 5,200 live ammunition cartridges (30GR 70mm Calibre) on the 13th of December 2020 concealed with other goods and household items in a passenger vehicle, Toyota Sienna with reg no, DKA 237 DW along Nwezenyi Ikom Road Cross River, based on credible and timely intelligence.
Only God knows what would have happened if these cartridges get to its destination unchecked, considering the fragile security of the Nation, from Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, banditry to insurgency, Compt. Yusuf stressed.
He added that the seized ammunition fall under schedule 4 of the Common External Tariff, which its importation is absolutely prohibited.
Other seized items include 1,215 bags of foreign parboiled rice 50kg each mostly concealed in bags of beans, maize and groundnut seeds all with the aim of deceiving our officers, 38 Jumbo bales of used clothing, 204 cartons of imported tomatoes and four used exotic vehicles including one new bulletproof Toyota Landcruiser 2019 model (without end-user certificate), two Toyota Hilux 2016 and 2015 respectively, one Mercedes Benz ML350 2015, and other controlled pharmaceutical products at various locations. Three suspects were arrested in connection to these different seizure.