The Area Comptroller, Ogun 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Michael Agbara has narrated how hoodlums hijacked the #EndSARS protest last month, and attacked Customs formations along the Idiroko, Obele and Imeko borders. and forced open the borders for three days, bringing in contrabands in massive quantity while the confusion lasted.
Addressing newsmen at a media briefing held over the weekend in Idiroko, Ogun State, Agbara said the hoodlums forced open the borders for three days, bringing in contrabands in massive quantity, adding that it took the timely intervention of men of the Nigerian Army to restore normalcy at the borders.
“Following the recent nationwide #EndSARS protest hijacked by hoodlums and smugglers particularly at the border areas, our Area Command suffered several vicious attacks in which an officer, AIC Solomon Alayge was killed and others were injured.
“In the early hours of Thursday, 22nd of October, 2020 many of our patrol teams were attacked, their patrol bases were vandalised and set ablaze. Our Officers and Men were trapped as a result of the multiple attacks suffered along Oja-Odan, Ilaro (along Ilaro/Oja- Odan/Obele border), Ihunbo, Adisba, Owode (along Idiroko axis), Ijoun and Imeko.
“Many of our personnel’s belongings including uniforms and other valuables were looted. Many of our patrol vehicles were vandalized.
“As what seemed to be a premeditated action, the said hoodlums/smugglers in large numbers seized the opportunity of the security challenge which made all security agencies focused on protecting their operatives and facilities at that period, to embark on massive smuggling of rice and vehicles for about three days,” he said.
Agbara, however, added that the Command afterwards intensified effort by strengthening her workforce with reinforcement from the military, saying “this assisted in beefing up security and restoring control at the Command.”
“As a result of the control measures put in place, attempt by the hoodlums to attack our government warehouses at Idiroko and Abeokuta and other critical government facilities were resisted.
“In the same vein, with bravery and gallantry of officers and men of the Command coupled with the maximum support of the Military, the Command recorded massive seizures after the restoration of law and order across our borders following the attack by hoodlums. Notable among the seizures are:
“2,947 bags of rice; 1,875 litre of petrol; 18 units of Vehicles; 4 units of motorcycles; 10 sacks and 1,658 pieces of Cannabis Sativa; 159 cartons of Sugar; 30 cartons of Tomato paste; 12 cartons of Cosmetics and soaps; 19 cartons of insecticide; and 7 kegs of vegetable oil (25 litres each).”
The Ogun 1 Command Controller also listed 420 seizures that were recorded before the #EndSARS protest.
“It is worthy of note that the Command during the third quarter of year 2020, successfully recorded 420 seizures comprising the items stated below: 11,146 Bags of Foreign Parboiled Rice (50 kg each) an average of 18 trailer loads per month; 86 units of Vehicles; 39 units of Motorcycle (Means of Conveyance); 10 kegs of Vegetable oil (25 liters each); 81 bales, 34 Sacks of Secondhand clothing; 1 Sack and 1,344 Pairs of Used Shoes; 1,814 Cartons of Frozen Poultry Products; 299,450 liters of PMS (Petrol); 127 Kegs of Palm oil (25 liters each); 1,225 liters of Diesel; 75 liters of Kerosene; 363 pcs of Handbags; 17 cartons of body cream; 12 bags by 50kg and 4 Cartons of Sugar; 37 sacks comprising 190 Book size, 883 Wraps and coconut Size Packs of Cannabis sativa; 213 Pieces of Used tyres; 24 Sacks of Pesticide; 210 Sacks of Black soap Chemical; 6 Packs of Ghana Soap; 8 Cartons of Imported Soaps; 10,775 Pieces of different types of Plastic Rubber; 410 Pieces of Textile (Wrapper); 172 Pairs of Rubber Slippers; 5 Sacks of Alligator Pepper; 186 Cartons of Crocodile Machetes; 72 Bundles of Nylon; 3 Bags and 1 sack of Snuff; 1 Sack of Ladies Bra; 2 Wraps of Ladies Wears; 6 Sacks of Medicament; 1 Carton Imported Perfumes; and 14 Bales of Cut Length Material, bringing the total Duty Paid Value of the above items to N397,076,991.
“Despite the precarious situation experienced recently by the Command, we will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on social/economic implication of smuggling as well as performing statutory function of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies.
“We thank the Community leaders and other Government Agencies who are showing concern and are collaborating with the Service for their continuous support. We also thank and appreciate the Press for being objective in reporting the challenges faced by our Officers while executing their statutory duty,” Agbara added.