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Desperate chronic rice smugglers hitherto using Cotonou Port in Benin Republic for Nigeria-bond rice, have devised yet another deadly means by stocking bags of rice in containers and declaring such another non-contraband goods to escape impoundment.
However, Tuesday, luck ran out of the economic saboteurs as the eagle eyes of officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Customs Command swooped on a total number of 54 containers of rice.
Other illegal goods also seized during the process include unregistered pharmaceutical products, used tyres, used clothing and refined vegetable oil in retail packs.
Briefing the press after the inspection of the containers, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) said the seizures were made in response to his directive to all seaport and airport Customs Commands to beef up their surveillance and intercept any illicit and prohibited consignment for which attempt for their smuggling may be made since the land borders have been closed to all forms of imports.
In a breakdown of the seizures, Ali stated that they included 33 containers of rice, one container of rice concealed with spare parts, 11 containers of unregistered pharmaceutical products, two containers of used tyres, one container of used clothing and four containers of refined vegetable oil in retail packs.
According to the Comptroller General, the duty paid value of the 54 containers totaled N2,713,865,051.
In his ruling, Ali averred that all the containers have been seized in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004 Sections 46 and 161.
Besides, Customs revealed that all the rice seized had expired or about to expire and therefore not good for human consumption.
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