HomeNewsHow Nigerian Customs Foiled Attempt to Smuggle Live Ammunition in Rice Bags

How Nigerian Customs Foiled Attempt to Smuggle Live Ammunition in Rice Bags

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced the interception of 975 rounds of live ammunition hidden inside five bags of locally produced rice at Imeko Afon in Ogun State. The operation was carried out by the Ogun 1 Area Command of the NCS on Monday, November 27, 2023.

According to the Acting Customs Area Controller, Deputy Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu, the seizure was made possible by the intelligence and professionalism of the officers and men of the command. He said the command would not relent in its efforts to track down and prosecute the perpetrators of the illegal act.

Shuaibu said the bags of rice were suspected because of the unusual threading and sewing of the sacks. He said the examination of the bags at the Border station revealed that they contained live cartridges of red star ammunition. He said the ammunition was carefully concealed in the bags and hidden in a bush path along the Palace/Ayetoro road, Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State.

He said the NCS was determined to combat the smuggling of arms and ammunition, which poses a serious threat to the security and stability of the country. He said the proliferation of illicit arms and ammunition fuels violent extremism, criminality, and conflicts in the country.

He said the NCS was working in collaboration with other security and law enforcement agencies, such as the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, the Nigeria Police Force, and the Nigerian Armed Forces, to curb the menace of arms trafficking.

He also appealed to the public to provide useful information and cooperate with the NCS in its fight against smuggling. He assured the public of maximum security cover and protection of their identity.

He said the NCS was committed to promoting national security and economic well-being of the country by enforcing the fiscal policies of the government and facilitating legitimate trade.

The interception of the live ammunition by the NCS is one of the latest efforts to stem the tide of arms smuggling in Nigeria and the West African sub-region. According to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, West Africa is one of the most affected regions by the illicit trade and circulation of small arms and light weapons, which are estimated to number over 100 million in Africa.

The UN has also expressed concern over the impact of the instability in Libya on the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the Sahel region, which includes parts of Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari has recently called for a concerted action to restore peace and stability in Libya, saying that as long as Libya remains unstable, illegal arms and ammunition will continue to flow into the region.

The NCS has also recorded remarkable achievements in revenue generation and anti-smuggling operations in 2023. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the NCS collected N2.60 trillion in revenue in 2023, representing a 46.8 percent increase from N1.77 trillion collected in 2021. The NCS also seized various contraband goods worth over N200 billion in 2023, including expired rice, vegetable oil, vehicles, textiles, drugs, and others.

The NCS has attributed its success to the implementation of the Finance Act 2023, which introduced various amendments and reforms in the fiscal policy of the country. The Finance Act 2023 also increased the cost of collection for the NCS from 4 percent to 5 percent of the total revenue generated.

The NCS has also embarked on various initiatives to enhance its capacity and efficiency, such as the deployment of modern technology, automation of processes, training and retraining of personnel, and improvement of welfare and incentives.

The NCS has also solicited the support and cooperation of the public, the media, and other stakeholders in its quest to deliver on its mandate and contribute to the development of the country.

Source: Vanguard

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