By Damian Duruiheoma Owerri
About 145 million pieces of clothing in 143 bales and 30,240 bottles of foreign non-alcoholic wine were seized by men from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, Owerri, Imo State. The seized fabrics were packed in 143 huge bales and falsely declared as agricultural pressure sprayers.
Controller, NCS Zone C, Kayode Olusemire, who took journalists to some of the latest seizures, said the wines were in three containers, but falsely declared as salt.
The controller, who released customs won the battle against foreign rice smuggling, revealed that smugglers now resort to using Nigerian ports by falsely declaring their products. He added that the practice is prohibited by Section 46 of the Customs Law.
He said: “These acts of smuggling stifle local initiative, but we know what they do. We are maintaining control over them.
Okusemire also revealed that thugs suspected of being smugglers attacked customs officials who were escorting some of the seized containers of smuggled wine from Port Harcourt to the Owerri Warehouse.
According to him, the attackers broke into the Owerri Industrial Layout around 2 am with various dangerous weapons and threw stones, bottles, knives, sticks and other dangerous items at customs officials.
Olusemire said the attackers almost dominated their personnel, but due to the timely intervention of other customs officials.
The attackers, he said, were working for those he called economic saboteurs still involved in the smuggling of officers of prohibited products, adding that the police "restrained" themselves during the attack and did not use force.
Olusemire said: “With the arrival of reinforcements from our command teams, the bandits were overpowered and fled. In the face of provocative hostility, the officers were able to tactically secure the seizures off the scene in a professional manner, thus avoiding the loss of life. "
The attack, he said, showed how desperate smugglers have become since the unit's intensified efforts to approach them.
He said: “This is not going to stop us, but what they should know is that a section of the Customs and Extensions Management Act has enabled us to defend ourselves against aggression and we will not fail to do so if we are threatened like this. "