The Ogun Area 1 Command of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has seized a total of 1,245 live cartridges concealed within bags of rice.
This operation took place in Tobolo community near Ijoun, situated in the Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State. The Area Controller, Bamidele Makinde, conveyed this information during a press conference held in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, on Monday.
Makinde informed reporters that the live ammunition was discovered alongside 203 bags of foreign rice. These items had been abandoned in a bush path at Tobolo junction, close to an exit point leading to the neighboring Benin Republic. The seized cartridges, measuring 70mm (2¾) in size, included brands such as Lion, Trust, Supreme, and Redstar.
The customs official highlighted that the interception occurred on Saturday, following intelligence gathered by the command regarding a planned smuggling attempt of these prohibited items into Nigeria from the Benin Republic.
The Roving B Team of the customs command managed to intercept five vehicles transporting the contraband. It was revealed that the drivers, suspected to have been alerted to the presence of the customs operatives, managed to escape through the bush path and avoid apprehension.
“During an examination of the seized vehicles and the item, about 1,245 rounds of 70mm ((2¾)) ammunition of Lion, Trust, Supreme and Redstar branded cartridges were found to have been ingeniously concealed in 20 bags of the intercepted foreign rice.
“While considering the potential danger of ammunition of such magnitude if successfully smuggled in, we redouble our efforts to ensure they do not find their way into the country. It is a threat to the safety of the border communities and national security. We are committed to ensuring maximum security of our border lines with all sense of patriotism.”
Makinde put the duty payable on the seized ammunition and rice at N17,638,145.
He said the items have been deposited for safekeeping, pending necessary action, adding that an “investigation is ongoing to unravel the cartel responsible for the attempted smuggling of the items for arrest and prosecution,” Makinde said.
He said the development is coming barely a week after a marching order was given to the command by the Acting Comptroller-General, Bashir Adeniyi, during his working visit to Ogun the week before.