By Steve Oni, Ilorin
The Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT), North Central Zone, Sector 3, Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, has made a single catch of a convoy of 13 Pick-Up Vans carefully, technically and locally fabricated for the purpose of smuggling activities.
Revealing this in a news briefing on Tuesday in Ilorin, the Coordinator of JBPT, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters, said the 13 Pick-Up Vans were fully loaded with 50kg of foreign par boiled rice.
He said: “The 13 vehicles arrested carried a total of 1,040 Bags of 50kg (almost Two Trailers) of foreign par boiled rice classifiable under chapter 1006 of Common External Tariff with duty Paid Value (DPV) of N19, 448,000.”
The Coordinator further disclosed that, within the space of 18 days, the JBPT recorded 43 seizures from Mokwa-Jebba, Gwanara, Okuta and other axis of the Sector, including 23 Used Vehicles,
1,274 Bags of Foreign par boiled Rice,
One locally made Gun, a Pistol and eight Cartridges.
Others, he said, were nine drums of AGO,
242 Jerri cans of PMS, seven motorcycles, seven Jerri Cans of 25 litres of groundnut oil, with the total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of all the Seized items amounting to N 61,002,800.
He said: “Five suspects were apprehended in connection with the locally made pistol and cartridges. They are illegal immigrants and were handed over to Nigeria Police Force and Nigerian Immigration Service on the 25th March, 2021.
“I reiterate that there is no retreat on the fight against smuggling in whatever guise. We cannot continue to fold our arms and allow every Tom, Dick and Harry come in and out of our country illegally. Trans-border crimes, such as proliferation of small arms and light weapons, ammunition, human trafficking, drugs trafficking, banditry and terrorism are among other security challenges, which we must check.
“The fight against smuggling activities in the North Central axis will continue to receive a sustained momentum that will lead to more seizures and enforcement of Federal Government policies/directives towards curtailing smuggling activities. I therefore stress the need for all illicit traders to desist from all illegal trades and try to engage in legitimate businesses.
“Border closure is not meant to witch hunt members of any community or individual but aimed at encouraging local farmers; control the inflow of arms and ammunition, illegal Immigrant, stop illicit drugs and all other prohibited goods in and out of the country and improve economy.
“The border closure has visibly yielded positive results, including reduction in smuggling and entry of illegal migrants.
Improved agricultural sector as most farmers smile to the Banks, while
daily Revenue Generation of Nigeria Customs Service into federation account has equally increased.
“The exercise has also promoted inter-agency cooperation and increased preparedness to address trans-border security challenges such as terrorism, armed banditry, smuggling, proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Increased consumption of local products, flash points of smuggling into Nigeria have been decimated, while the tripartite agreement among Nigeria, Niger, and Benin Republic had led to increased cooperation among security agencies of the aforementioned countries.”
Comptroller Peters warned the enemies of Nigerian Economy that Sector 3 has stepped up extra measures to combat the influx of foreign rice smuggling and other prohibited items into the country, adding that the eagle eyes of the Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) and superior intelligence sharing/utilizations would continue to cause unrepentant Smugglers nightmares.