Customs Intercept 1,245 Live Cartridges Concealed In Bags Of Rice In Ogun State

The Ogun Area 1 Command of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has successfully uncovered 1,245 live cartridges concealed within bags of rice. This significant seizure occurred near Ijoun, in the Tobolo community of Yewa North Local Government Area, Ogun State.

During a press conference held in the capital city of Ogun State, Abeokuta, on Monday, Area Controller Bamidele Makinde shared this development. Makinde conveyed that the live ammunition had been cleverly hidden alongside 203 bags of imported rice, left abandoned in a bush path near Tobolo junction. This location serves as an exit point toward the neighboring Benin Republic.

The cartridges, measuring 70mm (2¾), bore various brands including Lion, Trust, Supreme, and Redstar. Emphasizing the significance of the interception, the customs chief revealed that the operation took place on a Saturday, thanks to intelligence collected by the command. This information pointed to a plot to illegally bring these prohibited items into Nigeria from Benin Republic.

Makinde detailed that the Roving B Team of the customs command successfully halted five vehicles transporting the contraband items. However, it was noted that the drivers, likely tipped off about the presence of operatives, managed to escape arrest by fleeing through the surrounding bush path.

“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.