Customs Raid Warehouse, Impound 9,000 Bags of Rice Worth N88m
Days after operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service raided stores in markets at Sango Ota and seized hundreds of bags of rice, the Oyo/Osun Area Command of the agency says on that it raided a warehouse in Ibadan on Monday, and seized 9,000 bags of rice, valued at about N88.7m.
Controller of the command, Tope Ogunkua, said that the operation was jointly carried out by the anti-smuggling teams of the command and the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, the Punch newspaper reports.
“A total of 9,000 bags of smuggled imported rice with duty paid value of N88,776,000 were impounded and evacuated from a warehouse by the command’s anti-smuggling team in conjunction with operatives from the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A.”
When asked if it was lawful for customs operative to raid stores and warehouses, Ogunkua said the command’s action was backed by the law.
“We are bound by the law to carry out our anti-smuggling duty anytime of the day and anywhere within our jurisdiction. Section 147 of the Customs and Excise Management Act of 1990 as reviewed says without prejudice to any other powers conferred by the Act, where there is reasonable doubt to suspect that anything liable to forfeiture under the excise law is concealed in any building or place, any officer may without a warrant enter that building or place at any time whether by day or night, and search for, seize, detain or remove such thing.
“Sometimes when we do these things, people naturally resist and there could be shootings, leading to death of innocent people. When we, however, feel it is safe to do so, we use the option.
“We went to the warehouse in the evening and we were there throughout the night. One person was arrested and is currently on administrative bail.”
Ogunkua said last year the command made more than N14.8b, which represented 76 per cent of its target, adding in 2017, the command was expected to make N20.6b, out of which N1.5b was realised in January.
There has been an upsurge in the number of illegal goods seized by customs in recent weeks. In January, 661 pump action rifles hidden among steel doors in a 40-foot container were also seized by officers of the customs in Lagos.
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