By G9ija

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has accused some border communities in the country of aiding and abetting smuggling activities in the country.

The service added that this unsavory situation has occasioned the rising incidents of smuggling in the country.

Coordinator, Joint Border Drill Operations North Central Zone, Sector 3 Ilorin, Kwara State Mohammed Garba told reporters in Ilorin.

He added “I want to appeal to border communities most especially Bokoru, Alapa, Chikanda and Babanna axis of Kwara state to eschew from smuggling and not allow their towns to be used by smugglers.

“Community leaders in these areas should rise up to the challenge and cooperate with the sector to checkmate the activities of those who are into illegal businesses, who use their environs as safe routes and hiding places.”

On the rising wave of smuggling, Mr. Garba said: “Smuggling is gradually becoming an industry, a huge industry accepting all comers, attracting the greedy and absorbing the get-rich-quick criminals. Our youths today do not see smuggling as a crime. If you ask our youths today to mention the types of crimes bedeviling our society, I bet you, the only thing you will hear is robbery, murder, fraud, kidnapping, and money laundering. You will hardly hear them mentioning Smuggling as a crime because some see it as a normal business or a way of life.

“I want to charge the youths not to allow themselves to be deceived by engaging in smuggling activities which could lead to prison if caught but rather consider areas such as agricultural sector and small and medium enterprises where they can make legitimate earnings.”

The acting Assistant comptroller General of Customs (ACG) announced the seizure of 1,212 bags of imported fertilizer with a duty paid value of N16.9 million. It added that it seized 114 cartons of HIV drugs without National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) registration number.

Other seizures made, according to the service from July this year till date include 2, 794 bags of foreign rice equivalent to 46 trailers, 55 units of various type of used vehicles; 118 bales of second-hand clothing; 22 units of used tyres; 13 bags of foreign sugar; 608 drums of petrol (PMS); 469 jerry-cans of 25 liters of AGO; 17 motorcycles; 81 cartons of foreign Juice and 17 cartons of foreign natural water. Others are 20 jerry-cans of 25 litres of vegetable oil; 31 bags of local maize and 17 bags of local beans.

He put the total value of the seized goods at N127.3 million.

He added that since the joint border operations began in August last year, 23,449 bags of rice had been seized.

Garba said that “we have arrested 13 suspects in connection with seized good but were given administrative bail. A total of 15 Benin Republic nationals who entered the country through bush path via Kabour-Okuta-Taso road were equally intercepted and repatriated.”