The Sokoto Command of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has seized 517 bags of foreign rice and 320 parcels of Indian hemp of 1kg each illegally smuggled into the country.
Addressing newsmen on Saturday in Sokoto, its Comptroller, Mr Gimba Umar, said other items seized included 34 bags of Sugar and 45 bales of second-hand clothes all intercepted at various routes in Sokoto and Kebbi states in the last two weeks.
Umar said the items had total duty paid value of N14.9 million.
He said that the Indian hemp was wrapped in paw-paw shape of one kilogramme each when the Volkswagen Golf car conveying them was apprehended.
According to him, no suspect was arrested in connection with the offence as the suspects fled and abandoned the vehicle in an uncompleted building.
He commended the Police for their support which facilitated successful apprehension of the illicit substances, stressing that when the suspects approached Customs checkpoint, the quickly turned back which arouse suspicion.
The comptroller said other areas where the items were intercepted included Argungu-Kangiwa, Illela, Sokoto-Gusau, Kamba and Dole Kaina axis.
Umar assured that the command would not relent in its efforts to ensure that no person or group of persons sabotaged efforts of the NCS and the growth of the nation’s economy.
“We will keep pursuing them to ensure that no foreign rice passes our borders as smugglers can do everything possible to succeed in their unlawful strives,” Umar said.
He reiterated that the command would sustain its commitment to pursuing more revenue generation, ensuring smuggling-free country and other mandates of the NCS.
Receiving the Indian hemp, an NDLEA official, Mr Almustapha Aliyu, said the illicit substances were suspected to be imported from the Benin Republic and Ghana.
Aliyu said the substances were the special brand called “Skunk’’.
He, however, promised that the substances would be subjected to laboratory tests and measured at NDLEA office.
He commended the Customs service for intercepting the illicit drugs, stressing that this was not the first time the service was achieving such a feat.
He described the feat as an indication of the synergy that existed between the Customs service and NDLEA in the state.