Lack of adequate equipment like sea going vessels may have hindered the operations of the marine arm of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to effectively patrol the creeks and waterways.
The Guardian gathered that smugglers most time have the opportunity to evade arrest whenever they are carrying out their nefarious activities, as they dive into the waters upon seeing Customs officers approaching leaving behind their contraband items for seizure.
There are areas in the creeks that have been identified as notorious zones where smugglers usually carry out their activities. Among these areas is Ilufe in Ojo-Alaba, Lagos where two different seizures were made same day by the Customs.
Addressing journalists at the command’s headquarters on some seizures made recently, the Customs Area Controller, Western Marine Command; Mustapha Sarkin-Kebbi, stated that the command need more equipment to effectively comb these areas. He however mentioned that the command have been succeeding through the use of intelligence. He added that the seagoing vessels acquired by the service would soon be commissioned.
Items seized during the period include; 400 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 477 cartons of frozen poultry product, 138 bales of second hand clothing, among others with a duty paid value of N15.3 million.
The rice seizure with a duty paid value of N5 million was made at the Ijofin creek along Nigeria/Benin axis while bales of second hand clothings, rubber sandals and frozen chicken with duty paid value of N10.3 million were intercepted same day at the Ilufe Ojo-Alaba area in Lagos.
Commending the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali on the support accorded officers, Sarkin-Kebbi vowed that the command charged with the securing the waterways will not rest on its oars until smuggling within the creeks is eradicated.