How Smugglers hide rice, vegetable oil in gas cylinders


Ranmilowo Ojalumo

Smugglers in Nigeria have devised another unsuspecting tactics into their illicit activities as the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service recently nabbed a gang of smugglers that hid foreign parboiled rice, vegetable oil as well as frozen chickens in gas cylinders and move same across border into Lagos through Ogun state.

The various items were seized between 5th-17th February, 2020, based on surveillance and routine patrol.

The quantity of the items hidden in the gas cylinder and intercepted from the smugglers,  according to a statement issued by the Public Relation Officer of FOU, Zone A, Lagos Jerry Attah, includes 1,393 bags of rice, rice in gas drums, 625 cartons of frozen chicken, 187 jars and 66 drums of vegetable oil among many other items.

According to the statement, items with a cumulative duty paid value of N40.14 million were conveyed in 12 different motor vehicles and also concealed in gas cylinders.

Speaking on the seizure, the Acting Controller of FOU Zone A, Usman Yahaya reiterated that relentless efforts of his officers has continued to yield more result in the zone’s effort to curb smuggling. The Acting comptroller warned smugglers to repent from their unscrupulous activities, or continue to count their losses, pointing that his unit would continue to fight them.

The statement reads in part: “Barely two weeks after the comptroller-general of Customs’ working visit to Lagos where he showcased various seizures made by FOU A worth over N10 billion, we have again intercepted 1,393 bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice, 187 jerrycans/66 drums of foreign vegetable oil and 625 cartons of poultry products from unapproved routes within Ogun State between 5th -17th February 2020 based on surveillance and routine patrol”.

 “This desperate act by these dare-devil smugglers concealing edible items in a gas cylinder further justifies the hard chase by operatives of Customs. DPV of each type of seized items include rice, N27.86 million; vegetable oil, N6.28 million, and frozen poultry N6 million”.

Meanwhile, the Yahaya has called on genuine traders to be compliant in their declarations, saying the unit is always ready in facilitating their trade in line with the global best practices.

Yahaya expressed profound gratitude to the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, and the entire management team of the Service for providing necessary logistics and motivation for his officers. He also called on all Nigerians to support the custom’s fight against smuggling in the country by providing intelligence that could assist the unit to curb smuggling activities in the country.

Nigeria had closed her land borders against trade late 2019 and yet to open it as of press time.

Leave a Response