The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, (FOU), Zone A Ikeja over the weekend intercepted N1.5 billion worth of petroleum products on the verge of being smuggle out of the country to Benin Republic.
The petroleum product sandwiched in about 12 wooden speed boats had about 50,000 Jerry cans set to be smuggled from Ijofin creek under Ipokia Local government of Ogun.
Speaking on Monday at the creek where the petroleum products were intercepted, the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Zone A, Aminu Dahiru who was accompanied by the Customs Area Controller of FOU Zone A, Mohammed Aliyu and controller of Ogun Command, Michael Agbara said the interception were made after days of intelligence gathering by officers of the unit.
According to him, exportation of petroleum products through the creeks is an illegal trade and the service will continue to deal with it.
He said, “This is a big seizure and it needed to be showcased because of the seize, the volume involved. The 11,000 Jerry cans that were evacuated worth and in addition there is more than triple of it in the creeks about to be snuggled out of the country so we thought it’s time to show Nigerians on activities of economic saboteurs and how we are dealing ruthlessly with them.
On how the seizures were made, Dahiru said, “This is an unimaginable seizures made by officers. Since it is a petroleum products we do not expect it to be smuggled into Nigeria so naturally it is going out.
Eventhough, the ACG was unable to give a correct number of the seized products, a reliable source who was instrumental to the seizure, said it was worth over 50,000 Jerry cans.
According to the officer who does not want his name in print, “if three boats could carry 11,000 Jerry cans and we have about nine boats left yet to be evecauted then we should have about 39,000 left in the creek.
But, Dahiru said. “We are sure of what we have at FOU because that gave us exactly 11,000 jerrycan of petroleum products and what we have here is more than what we have their what have been evacuated is just a pinch but, the value can only be determined if we know the quantity but the other one at the FOU, we are able to arrive at N40 million because we multiply numbers of kegs to numbers of litres to arrive at that.
The ACG who was marvelled by the number Jerry cans at the creeks said the means of contesting the products would be forfeited to the federal government.
“Well by law, the means of conveyance is liable to seizure but i don’t know whether the speed boats have any value but at the same time it is forfeited to the FG.
“We have seized petroleum products but we never have never seized that of this magnitude but this is to show that those who are behind this are selfish that they do not care about the country but we will continue to strategies and be ahead of them.
On the officers that made the seizures, the zone A customs boss promised to write a report to the CG recommending reward.
“What i have to say is that on the side of officers a report has to be written and in this report we can create a kind of attention for them and we will explain how they have to set up surveilance, and other startegies to get this seizure but definitely this is not a small feat.
Also, CAC of the Unit, Mohammed Aliyu was optimistic the Comptroller General of Customs could give officers involved automatic promotion.
“What i can tell my men is that they should guard this seizures and like the ACG said, we will write our recommendation and don’t be surprise the CGC can promote all of them,” he assured the officers.