In a significant operation, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Ogun Area 1 Command, successfully apprehended a total of 1,245 live cartridges that were concealed amidst bags of rice.
This interception took place within the Tobolo community, located in proximity to Ijoun within the Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Addressing the press in a conference held in the capital city of Ogun State, Abeokuta, the Area Controller, Bamidele Makinde, provided comprehensive details of the operation.
Makinde relayed that these live cartridges were covertly stashed in 203 bags of foreign rice, abandoned along a secluded path near the Tobolo junction, which serves as a strategic exit point toward the neighboring Benin Republic.
The cartridges, specifically of the 70mm (2¾) variety, were identified to be products of various brands including Lion, Trust, Supreme, and Redstar.
Makinde emphasized that the operation had been executed on a Saturday following meticulously gathered intelligence on an intended smuggling attempt of these prohibited items from the Benin Republic into Nigeria.
According to his account, the Roving B Team of the command successfully intercepted a convoy of five vehicles that were transporting the illicit goods.
Revealing further details, the Area Controller shared that the drivers of these vehicles, believed to have been tipped off about the presence of the customs operatives, managed to evade capture by disappearing into the nearby bushes.
Upon a thorough examination of the impounded vehicles and their concealed contents, it was discovered that approximately 1,245 rounds of 70mm (2¾) ammunition, branded as Lion, Trust, Supreme, and Redstar cartridges, had been ingeniously hidden within 20 bags of the intercepted foreign rice.
Makinde expressed grave concern about the potential hazards posed by such a significant quantity of ammunition if it were to be successfully smuggled into the country. He affirmed the commitment of the Nigerian Customs Service to enhance border security, safeguarding both border communities and national security with unwavering determination.
Makinde quantified the duty payable on the seized ammunition and rice at N17,638,145.
He revealed that these confiscated items are presently being safeguarded, awaiting further necessary measures. An ongoing investigation is actively underway to identify and apprehend the individuals involved in this attempted smuggling operation, with the aim of bringing them to justice.
It is notable that this development occurred just within a week of receiving a direct directive from the Acting Comptroller-General, Bashir Adeniyi, during his recent official visit to Ogun State.