The Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Thursday, said it lost four men to smugglers in 2022 and arrested 176 suspected smugglers.
The Acting Controller of the unit, Deputy Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, announced this at a news conference in Lagos.
In the year under review, Ejibunu said the unit charged 14 suspects to court and secured seven convictions.
Seven suspects are now in detention.
He said that the service handed two suspects over to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and one other suspect to the Police while 151 suspects are on administrative bail.
Regrettably, he said that NCS lost four officers officers while in active service in the process of battling smugglers.
He said while frowning at such murderous acts, they also ensured that those behind some of the killings were arrested to face justice.
The controller noted that the unit, in the year under review, executed its core mandates in the six states of the South-West.
In the face of resistance, attacks and tricks in the mode of concealment, the Customs officers are duty-bound to carry out their responsibilities, he said.
“This unit also prevented loss of government revenue.
“We recovered the discovered shortfalls through Issuance of demand notices (DN).
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“We did these at the expense of our lives placing national interest ahead of any narrow or personal gain.
“It is sad to note that some of our officers paid the supreme price last year when they died in the hands of smugglers,” he said.
Ejibunu said that as regards anti-smuggling,
From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 2022, Ejibunu said the unit seized smuggled items worth a duty-paid value of N13.9 billion in its anti-smuggling war.
Aside protecting national economy, we also seized smuggled item that are dangerous to citizens’ health.
He listed items seized to include foreign rice, vehicles, drugs, textiles and petroleum products.
“In terms of volume, rice topped the list of our seizures.
“We seized 93,102 X 50kg, which amounts to about 156 trailer loads of rice.
“A total of 108 automobiles comprising of trucks, tankers, cars and motorcycles were seized.
“For illicit drugs, we intercepted 7,354kg and 4,975 tablets of Cannabis sativa, 233 cartons of Tramadol.
“The Unit seized 656,414 litres of petrol from economic saboteurs,” he said.
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