by crossriverwatch admin
The Customs and Excise, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States Command on Saturday impounded 7,623 bags of rice worth 72,634,565:20k duty paid value from smuggling rings operating at the Bakassi peninsula, even as it says it earned 9.781 billion naira revenue in 2013.
Mr. Akande Bamidele , the Comptroller of Customs heading the Akwa Ibom and Cross River State Command told CrossRiverWatch that the rice which was of different brands was imported from Thailand and India through Cameroon and brought in small boats into Bakassi.
He said Bakassi is not one of the approved points for the importation of rice and to put pay to what he calls economic sabotage perpetrated by the smuggling rings, his Command placed them under surveillance for three weeks while they brought in the rice which they stored in temporary shelters for onward movement to markets in the South -South and South East.
The Comptroller said the rice was escorted from Cameroon by armed men and to avoid recording casualty on both the side of the Customs and the smugglers, “We kept them under watch and at the appropriate time we moved in and impounded the rice and moved it into our ware house.
“What they are doing is to import the rice through this route which is not approved for the importation of rice and sell at very cheap prices below what the approved importers who pay Import Duty which is used in the building of roads and other services are selling which is economic sabotage”.
He said a single shot was not fired during the operation as other security agencies were involved in the operations. “we wanted all security agencies in the state to participate so we involved the military, the Directorate of Security Service, DSS, the Police and the Civil Defense so we over whelmed any plans by the smugglers to react or attack our men”.
Mr. Akande dismissed speculations that the rice was carted out of the state to the northern part of the country following the use of trucks from that part of the country in the evacuation of the impounded rice.
On the revenue collected by the Command in 2013, Mr Akande stated that a target of 6 billion naira was given to the Command but a total of 9, 781 89. 93 kobo was collected which effectively over shot the target with over 3 billion naira, a feat he attributed to the cooperation of officers and men of the Command.
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