By Ray Ugochukwu
Operation Total Blockade, put in place by the Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has recorded over eight seizures in recent times with a total duty paid value (DPV) of N27 million.
In a statement made available to Seabreeze News and signed by the Command Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Mr. Tangwa N.E., the items impounded in the operation included 195 bales of second-hand clothing, 705 twenty-litre jerry cans of premium motor spirit (PMS), 170 kegs of vegetable oil, various cartons of sugar.
Other items, according to Tangwa, were 470 parboiled 50kg bags of foreign rice, frozen poultry products and other sundry items, all of which he disclosed, were impounded from various outstations including Idiroko, Ogun State, several creeks in Badagry, Yekeme, Bar Beach all in Lagos, Igbokoda, Ondo State and Yauri in Kebbi State.
He said the code name, Operation Total Blockade, was part of the strategies designed by the Area Controller, Comptroller Sarkin-Kebbi M.M., to ensure that no smuggler escaped in his nefarious activities.
The image maker remarked that on several occasions, his boss had urged smugglers to jettison their illicit trade and engage in legitimate businesses as he was prepared to make the country’s waterways free from smuggling activities.
This, he said, was in line with the Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali’s (rtd) stance of ridding the country of smuggling coupled with the zeal of the command to achieve this.
According to him, the “CAC HQ Surveillance Team” was always on ground to apprehend any smuggler trying to ferry illicit goods through the nation’s waterways.
He said the CAC had therefore called on the media to give adequate coverage to the command’s operations, even as he equally implored other maritime stakeholders to partner the command by availing it with useful information that could lead to sanitizing the waterways.
While Comptroller Sarkin-Kebbi had made it clear that the command would not abdicate its duties, he also pointed out that he would not negotiate with smugglers, whom he branded the enemies of the country and the economy.
Comptroller Sarkin-Kebbi M.M., Area Controller, Western Marine Command
Some of the items impounded by the Customs, Weatern Marine Command….recently
Some of the jerry cans of fuel seized by the command