The ban on some imported goods in Nigeria has caused the Nigerian Customs Service to go on a ‘rice raid’. Some days ago, some operatives from the agency visited the Sango Ota market and went into stores to seize hundreds of bags of rice.
This continued as the Oyo/Osun Area Command of the customs raided a warehouse in Ibadan on Monday, 27th of February and seized 9, 000 bags of rice valued at N88.7m.
According to Punch Newspapers, the controller of the command, Tope Ogunkua informed them that the operations was jointly carried out by the anti-smuggling teams of the command and the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A and one person was arrested during the operation.
“A total of 9,000 bags of smuggled imported rice with duty paid value of N88,776,000 were impounded and evacuated from a warehouse by the command’s anti-smuggling team in conjunction with operatives from the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A.”
Ogunkua defended their actions when asked if it was lawful for customs to raid stores and warehouses.
“We are bound by the law to carry out our anti-smuggling duty anytime of the day and anywhere within our jurisdiction. Section 147 of the Customs and Excise Management Act of 1990 as reviewed says without prejudice to any other powers conferred by the Act, where there is reasonable doubt to suspect that anything liable to forfeiture under the excise law is concealed in any building or place, any officer may without a warrant enter that building or place at any time whether by day or night, and search for, seize, detain or remove such thing.
“Sometimes when we do these things, people naturally resist and there could be shootings, leading to death of innocent people. When we, however, feel it is safe to do so, we use the option.
“We went to the warehouse in the evening and we were there throughout the night. One person was arrested and is currently on administrative bail.”
He also revealed that 1207 vehicles, paid duty of N320,329,797 between January and December 2016. The command said it generated N14.8billion in the outgone year 2016. The 2017 projection has an addition of N5.2billion.