The men of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun State Area Command, have impounded seven truck-loads of unprocessed wood, allegedly being exported out of the country illegally.
The vehicles, with foreign number plates, majorly of the Republic of Benin, were said to have been intercepted last Friday by customs operatives in the Ijoun area, in the Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, while they were allegedly heading for Republic of Benin.
Also, last Sunday, the operatives of the command were said to have made seizure of 1,035 bags of smuggled rice, in the Idoko area, while 10 vehicles used in smuggling them were impounded.
The Area Controller, Ogun State Area Command, Multafu Jilantikiri, on Monday in Abeokuta said the seizures were signals to other smugglers in the state that it would no longer be business as usual.
He said five foreign nationals, who could not speak English, but only French, were arrested in connection with the truck-loads of unprocessed woods.
He said, “On February 5,2016,our operatives arrested six trailers with number plates, AU 3121 RB, BA 9064 RB, AY 7203 RB, AV 4002 RB, BA 7930 RB, and a truck with number plate AX 3245 RB, carrying unprocessed wood.
“Unprocessed woods are prohibited from being exported out of the country; only processed ones are allowed to be exported out of the country, and they must have been cut to small sizes.
“Five persons who were foreign nationals were arrested in connection with the act. They did not understand English; they only spoke French. They are currently being detained while preliminary investigations are ongoing.
“In another development, on February 7, 2016, while acting on a tip-off, our operatives stormed the Idoko area and arrested 10 vehicles loaded with 1,035 bags of smuggled rice. The vehicles and the bags of smuggled rice were, immediately taken to a government warehouse.
“Despite the fact that some of the fleeing smugglers removed the batteries, tyres and steering wheels from the vehicles, we towed them down to Abeokuta.”
Jilantikiri said since he assumed office a few weeks ago, the command had made 55 seizures, which included 25 fairly-used vehicles, 1,161 cartons of frozen poultry products, second-hand tyres, cannabis sativa, and other items.
The Ogun customs boss advised smugglers to follow due process by paying the necessary duties on their goods, or be ready to lose them.
He said, “I want to tell smugglers to follow the due process by paying the necessary duties on their goods. We are determined than ever before to stop all illegalities in Ogun State.
“The command has held meetings with stakeholders on the need to shun smuggling. Some have turned a new leaf while others turned deaf ears.”
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