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The Nigerian Customs service, Ogun State command I has vowed not to be intimidated by attacks by smugglers and hoodlums in the state.
The command which intercepted over #500m worth of goods in four months also threatened that those who killed , Solomon Alayge injuring two others and looting its personnel’s’ uniforms and other valuables items would not go unpunished .
The Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun I Command, Michael Agbara disclosed these in a brief on the post EndSARS protest crisis at Idiroko emphasizing that the hoodlums would not go Scot – free.
Agbara accounts that the seizures were made between July and September being the third quarter and October, 2020 during the post protest operations, 2020
The Total Duty Paid Value of the items seized during the third quarter was N397,076,991 while the seizures made at the end of the protest were yet to be valued.
It was reported that hoodlums took advantage of the EndSARS protest to launch attack on custom checkpoints at the Ogun West axis and also raided warehouses.
The attack made customs officers retreat from the roads while the hoodlums went on smuggling spree uninterrupted as a customs officer was killed in the process.
Agbara said patrol bases were vandalised and set ablaze in locations like Oja-Odan, Ilaro, Ihunbo, Adisba, Owode, Ijoun and Imeko.
Agbara who spoke through a statement by the Public Relations Officer, Hammed Oloyede described the attacks as premeditated.
He said the smugglers used the period to embark on smuggling of rice and vehicles.
According to him, the attacks were launched by smugglers in connivance with hoodlums in order to frustrate operations of the Customs officers, thereby paving ways for unchecked smuggling.
He said “their target was principally aimed at making customs to leave the border areas for them to have unfettered access to smuggling. I can assure you that after restoration of the control we have recorded successes and recovered seizures.
“They have not gone scot free. We are still gathering intelligence of all of them who took the advantage to smuggle in contrabands. Also, those who in one way or the other have hand in the killing of the officers will not go scot – free. They must be brought to book,” Agbara said.
He listed 420 seizures of the third quarter with total duty paid Value of the items at N397,076,991 to include 37 sacks of cannabis sativa, 86 units of Vehicles, 11,146 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50 kg), 39 units of motorcycle, being used as means of conveying contrabands, 299, 450 litres of petrol, 1,225 litres of diesel and 127 kegs of palm oil.
Others were 1,814 cartons of frozen poultry products, 24 sacks of pesticide, 10,775 pieces of different types of plastic rubber and 186 cartoons of crocodile machetes.
He added that the post protest seizures which will be valued at the end of the quarter included about 3,000 bags of rice, 1,875 litres petrol among other contrabands.
Agbara added that while the NSC would continue to engage and dialogue with stakeholders on the economic implications of smuggling, the operatives would not be intimidated by attacks.