The Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun 1 Area Command has intercepted 1,245 live ammunition concealed in bags of foreign rice in the state.
The Area Comptroller, Bamidele Makinde, made this known at a news conference on Monday in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He said five old vehicles were intercepted by the Roving B Team of the Command on August 12, 2023 at about 12:24am.
Makinde said on August 11, the Command received credible intelligence on a planned smuggling of prohibited items into the country by some unscrupulous elements.
The Area Controller said the Command swung into action by deploying operatives on 24 hours surveillance to thwart their nefarious activities.
Makinde listed the five vehicles intercepted: (Toyota Camry with Chassis No. 4TIBG22KIWU312145, Toyota Camry with Chassis No. 4TIXK1263NU108237 and three Mazda 626 cars with Chassis Nos. JM2GD14H201568566, JMZGF14F201173029 and JMZGF14P20141862 respectively).
The Area Controller said the vehicles intercepted were loaded with 203 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each abandoned in a bush path at Tobolo Junction, close to an exit point to the Republic of Benin, and near Ijoun, Yewa North Local Government Area of the State.
Makinde said the drivers, who were suspected to have been hinted about the movement of the Customs operatives, escaped.
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He said: “During examination of the seized vehicles and the items, about 1,245 rounds of 70mm (2¾) live 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 into the country, if successfully smuggled in, we will 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.
“And also we are committed to ensuring maximum security of our border lines with all sense of patriotism.”
According to Makinde, the Duty Paid Value of the seized ammunition and rice is N17,638,145.00, adding that the items have been deposited for safekeeping, pending further necessary action.
He also said investigation was ongoing to unravel the cartel responsible for the attempted smuggling of the items for arrest and prosecution.
Makinde said the recent seizures recorded were made possible through intensive intelligence driven operations.