[From INI BILLIE, Uyo]
Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) covering the South South, South East zones has seized items worth N594, 000,000, and apprehended 66 suspects and 51 irregular migrants.
The Comptroller of Customs in charge of the JBPT, Sector Coordinator Sector 1, Shehu Abubakar said the team carried out the raids based on intelligence report, adding that stop and search operations of suspected shops and warehouses led to the interception of irregular migrants and contraband items.
Abubakar mentioned the seizure of 10, 596 bags of varying sizes of rice comprising 9,693 bags of 50kg, 855 bags of 25kg, 28 bags of 10kg, and 20 bags of 5kg foreign parboiled rice.
He stated that 374, 642 litres of petroleum products, 224 bales of fairly used foreign clothes, 299 bags of 16ykg Indian hemp, 509 cartons of fake drugs, 507 roles of textile materials, 2 locally made pistols, 2,195 cartons of foreign cocoa butter, and 438 cartons of ceramic stainless plates were also seized.
Other items include 1184 bags of 25kg foreign fertilizer, 410 cartons of foreign poultry products, 285 jerry cans of 25 litres of foreign vegetable oil, 161/25 litres of palm oil, 191 bags of white cement, and 4 vehicles were seized out of the16 detained.
In a press release made available to our correspondent on Sunday in Uyo, Abubakar revealed that the items have been deposited in the government designated warehouses across the zone.
He added that the operations which spanned five months was in line with the rules of engagement of JBPT as enshrined in section 147 and 151 of the Customs and Excise Management Act cap. C45 LFN 2004.
The Comptroller warned smugglers and their sympathizers who see smuggling activities as a mean of livelihood to desist from the illicit act, or be ready to face the law.
He explained that the raid have led to a drastic reduction in criminal activities, noting that the operatives are determined and will not relent in ensuring that the markets are rid of prohibited goods.
“There has been drastic reduction in criminal activities such as sea robbery, kidnapping and violent attacks by pirates due to intensive patrol of the maritime frontier by operatives of JBOD/JBPT.
“It has also curbed smuggling of petroleum products from Nigeria to nearby countries which led to availability of products even during the Yuletide in littoral states.
“There has been reduction in illegal migration through Mfum, Oron, Ikang and other unapproved entering points, and reduction in the rate of bunkering activities.
“It has also helped in reducing inter agency rivalry and strengthen collaboration amongst participating agencies and boost confidence of local rice farmers which resulted in increased in local rice production and consumption in the zone.
“Sector one operatives are determined and won’t relent effort in ensuring that our markets are rid of prohibited foreign goods in line with the federal government policies on border closure,” he stated.