The Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Western Marine Command, said it has seized various contraband goods worth N1.06bn in the first quarter of 2020, Q1’20.
The Customs disclosed that a chunk of goods seized was Cannabis sativa (Indian hemp) worth one billion naira.
According to the Comptroller of the command, Olugboyega Peters, the cache represents the highest value of goods seized by the command since its creation and signified an increase in smuggling.
A statement from the command’s Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Tangwa, stated that the anti-smuggling operations of the command yielded a total of 39 raids as against 12 in the previous year.
It said the total duty paid value of the items seized amounted to N1.06bn as against a DPV of N36.42m recorded in Q1 2019.
Giving a breakdown of the seized goods, he said 1,816 bags of rice with a duty of N38.13m; 733 cartons of poultry products with a duty of N7.42m; 104 bales of second-hand clothing with a duty valued N4.39m and 665 bales of textile material with duty worth N2.09m, were confiscated.
Others are 112 litres of petroleum products with duty worth N112,000; 196 bags of Cannabis Sativa with duty valued at N1bn; 25 bales of second-hand shoe/belt worth N8.02m; and 25 cartons of chewing gum with duty worth N1.2m.
According to him, the largest volume of Indian hemp at a go in the history of the Customs was seized in the quarter under review.
The comptroller attributed the massive seizures recorded during the first quarter of the year to a renewed spirit to achieve strategic plans among customs officers in the command as well as new strategies deployed to tackle smuggling.
He added that credible intelligence received from patriotic informants, massive public enlightenment and sensitisation meetings on the dangers of smuggling and its negative impact on the economy and national security with border communities also aided the arrest.
According to Peters, collaboration with the community leaders, youth groups and sister agencies such as the Nigerian Navy, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Civil Defence, and the Nigeria Police Force helped the command to achieve the feat.