The Calabar Free Trade Zone and Akwa Ibom Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has seized 200 bags of smuggled foreign rice at Oron in Akwa Ibom State. Mrs Burromvyat Patience, the Customs Area Controller in charge of Calabar Free Trade Zone and Akwa Ibom Area Command, made this known to newsmen in Calabar on Saturday. Patience said that the Heavy Duty Mack Truck that was carrying the 50kg bags of rice was intercepted by the Operating Officers of the command on Nov. 22, on the Oron axis. She said that the suspects had disguised the rice as sand and covered the bags with empty sacks.
She added that it took the operational intelligence of the officers of the service to discover that it was smuggled parboiled rice that the truck was carrying. “The NCS is at it again. Today, I present to you a rare seizure; rare in the sense that our operating officers at Oron axis were able to successfully intercept a heavy duty truck with 200 bags of illegally imported rice. “The seizure is spectacular because the officers went the extra mile to apprehend the suspects, who made frantic efforts to escape. “The concealment, no doubt was designed to beat the prying eyes of our officers but the reverse became the case. “The duty paid value of the seizure is put at N5.9million and the truck registration number is NTE 35 XA,’’ she said.
She disclosed that a total of 1,521 bags of smuggled rice were seized by the command between January and October this year with a duty paid value of N34.9 million. “It will be recalled that in October, this command presented a revenue profit of N7.8 billion which is about 90 per cent of the command’s annual revenue target of N8.7 billion. “Our successes so far were possible courtesy of the amiable Controller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd),’’ she said. She reiterated the command’s commitment to combat all smuggling activities and enforce Federal Government’s fiscal policie