By Bayo Bernard
The haul of seizure by the Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service in the last two months is an indication that men and officers of the command under the leadership of Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba are moving fast with the ongoing plan to seal up all illegal routes along the Nigeria-Benin borders.
Comptroller Muhammed had on Tuesday told journalists that his men, within this period seized 11 trucks load of rice containing 6,753 bags with 45 kegs of foreign groundnut oil smuggled into the country from Benin Republic.
Twenty two fairly used vehicles and six means of conveyance were also seized, he said.
Amongst the seized car are Toyota Coaster Van (2014 model), Toyota Land cruiser Prado (2011).
The border is the largest in West Africa and had become notorious for smuggling of goods and human trafficking.
But in line with the federal government directive that all clearance of goods and persons be done along the Seme-Karake border post, Comptroller Mohammed recently gave a stern order to his men to close swathes of illegal routes along the two country’s border.
In fact the controller was cock sure his men will meet the January 14 deadline to seal up all the illegal routes.
He had told journalists that his effort will be directed majorly to curb the activities of economic saboteurs who capitalize on the busy border to bring in prohibited items.
This is in line with the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali’s directive and the outcome of the first joint management meeting of the Joint Border Post, JBP, Comptroller Mohammed said.
The Seme Area Controller is co-chair of the JBP.
Though the command is still struggling on how to close these unapproved routes, security analysts and close watchers of the Benin-Nigeria borders say, but the controller and his men appears to be moving in that direction.
Notable amongst the intercepted items are Toyota Coaster Van (2014 model), Toyota Land cruiser Prado (2011).
Others according to Comptroller Mohammed “are Mercedes Benz GLK 350 (2010), Toyota Sienna (2013), Toyota 4Runner (2014) and a host of others. The combined duty paid value (DPV) for the vehicles stands at N177,314,091 and the he Grand Total for both seizures and revenue is N1,055,122,539.68.”
The total duty paid value of the seized rice was N158 million, while 45 kegs of vegetable oil worth N573 million were seized.
The command also seized 91 parcels of hard drugs which have now been handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further investigations