It was a success story for the Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Monday, as it intercepted a truck loaded with bomb-making raw materials from smugglers in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
P.M.EXPRESS reports as was disclosed by the Unit’s Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah, on behalf of the Acting Customs Area Controller, Deputy Comptroller Kayode Kolade.
While addressing journalists at the Unit’s warehouse in Benin City, Kolade warned smugglers against importing explosives and other contrabands in the interest of humanity or they will have the Law to contend with.
The Customs boss said smuggling explosives when the country is still grappling with insecurity is absurd, despicable and can never be accepted in Nigeria.
“More worrisome is the interception of 9 sacks 50kg each of explosive materials (fertilizer, device cables and superpower 90 chemicals). We all know the security implication if these explosive components get to their destination unchecked. It may interest you to know that Superpower 90 is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting.”
“The high detonation velocity and the robust nature of Superpower 90 makes it an ideal primer for the initiation of column charge. Let’s us not just imagine if dynamites and landmines are detonated using these items,“ he said.
He stated that so far, nine suspects were arrested in connection with the smuggling in addition to 417 sacks of cannabis sativa, also known as Indian hemp, weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of same Indian hemp 1kg each totaling 627kg among others.
“Nine sacks of 50kg each of explosives’ raw materials; 1,329 bags, 50kg each of smuggled foreign parboiled rice; five cartons of 100mg DSP Cough Syrup with codeine containing 1000 bottles; 1 unit of armored bullion van and 761 jumbo bales of second hand clothing.”
“Others were 883 cartons of various unregistered and expired medicaments including tramadol; 100 cartons of various wines; 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres; 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato pastes and 300 cartons of foreign spaghetti.”
“The Zone also arrested 9 suspects in connection with the seizures within the period under review – July 25 to September 23rd 2023,” he stated.
The Acting Comptroller also stated that the unit raised a debit note of N54.24million on importers who underpaid customs duties.
“We successfully recovered the sum of N54.24million from demand notices raised based on some infractions noticed, making a cumulative sum of N1.63billion within the months under review,” he added.
Giving details of the arrest, the Customs CAC said an armoured bullion van without Customs documents and End User Certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) was intercepted along Okada/Benin Expressway among other items.
“Based on prompt intelligence and sting operation, the rice was intercepted along Calabar/Akwa Ibom axis and Okada/Benin expressway while the 417 sacks and 627 parcels of Indian hemp were intercepted at Okada-Benin and Ewu-Auchi Expressway respectively.”
“761 Jumbo bales of used clothing mostly concealed in trucks and buses were intercepted along Umeikaa/Aba Road and Okada-Benin Road and the five cartons of DSP cough syrup with codeine, and 883 cartons of unregistered medicaments were intercepted along Benin/Asaba/Onitsha Expressway.”
“The armored bullion van without Customs documents and End User Certificate was intercepted along Okada/Benin Expressway. 100 cartons of wine and 335 tomatoes paste were intercepted along Ewu/Ibilo axis, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres were also intercepted along Cross River waterside and Okada-Benin Expressway,” he said.
He further expressed worry over the smuggling of explosives, warning that all economic saboteurs, who plan to use the ember period for their nefarious acts to have a rethink as the Service will make sure they count their losses, adding that “no amount of distraction will stop us from carrying out our statutory responsibilities not even in the face of attacks we encountered this month by some sponsored elements”.
He stated that the suspects will be charged to Court after the conclusion of investigations by the operatives.