Western Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recently seized 17,625 litres of fuel worth ₦2.6 million.
The fuel, stored in 705 jerry cans, was seized at Yekeme Creek when the smugglers were in the process of evacuating them into their boats, preparatory to taking them to neighbouring countries.
The Comptroller, Sarkin-Kebbi Mustapha, told journalists that prior to this seizure, his command had seized 2000, and 950 kegs of fuel October and November, respectively, on their way to neighbouring countries.
“This seizure is instructive because it came when the country is experiencing acute fuel crisis. It is callous for anybody to attempt to smuggle fuel out of the country at a time Nigerians were passing through acute fuel shortage.
“Before the fuel crisis, we had been doing our best to block this act of callousness by smugglers. Now, it is even more expedient that all avenues through which smugglers take out PMS, are totally blocked.
“I assure you and all Nigerians that Western Marine Command of the NCS will do all it can to ensure that no such product is taken out of the country through the creeks.”
Sarkin-Kebbi appealed to smugglers to learn from the theme of World Customs Day of January 26, 2018, which was, “Secure Business Environment for Economic Development,” saying, “for if you have a secure environment to do your business, you do not need to smuggle anything into the country.”
He explained that his officers and men had on May 10, 2017, seized 66 kegs of fuel at Asheke Creek; 344 kegs of PMS on October 11, 2017 at Gbao Creek; 1406 kegs of PMS at Yekeme Creek on October15, 2017; 950 kegs of PMS at Yekeme Creek on November 8, 2017.
“Again, we made seizure of 195 bales of second hand clothing on January 4, 2018, with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of ₦16 million. We are not relenting on our responsibility, as we have enough encouragement and support from the Comptroller General of Customs.”
He advised rice smugglers to make genuine efforts to grow rice as it has been shown that rice can grown in any part of Nigeria, insisting that smuggled rice is expired rice, which is repackaged, relabelled and sold cheaply to the callous businessmen and women who then smuggle them into Nigeria.