The Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted three stolen vehicles on federal highways in the North Central zone. The vehicles included a Toyota land cruiser jeep valued at N60.75 million.
The outgoing coordinator of Sector 3 of the Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT), Assistant Comptroller General Olugboyega Peters said in Ilorin on Monday said that the intercepted jeep belongs to a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Chidi Nwoka, which was intercepted along Kaduna/Abuja road. The Sector 3 of the JBPT covers Kwara, Niger, Kogi and Benue States with ACG Peters as the coordinator.
Peters explained: “During the period under review, Sector 3 has intercepted a total of three stolen vehicles, namely Lexus RX 350 without number plate seized around Benue axis, Toyota Yaris with registration number BEN-59-EZ apprehended around Lokoja axis of the sector and Toyota land cruiser jeep intercepted at Suleja axis as earlier mentioned.
“In the early hours of Wednesday, 23rd November 2022, our operatives deployed to Suleja axis of Niger State, while on routine patrol intercepted a Toyota land cruiser jeep with registration number KUJ 570 MB from Abuja heading to Kaduna. The operatives requested for the vehicle Customs documents from the occupants. The two occupants, who could not produce any document, disembarked from the vehicle, pretending to be making a call to the owner and suddenly took to their heels and ran into the bush and abandoned the vehicle. This raised the suspicion of our operatives…
“While conducting search on the vehicle, the operatives found a complimentary card bearing details of a National Assembly member. The said Honourable member was subsequently contacted and officers were confronted with shocking news that the vehicle in question was snatched few hours earlier from his driver at gun point around Gwarimpa axis of Abuja.
“I want to assure you that once the customs duty of the said vehicle is produced by the owner and confirmed to be genuine, the sector will hand over the vehicle to the Nigeria Police Force for further investigations and theft clarification”.
Peters further said that the JBPT recorded 187 seizures with a duty paid value of N 302,590,252 during the period.
“The breakdown of the seized goods included 2,052 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50kg each), an average of four trailer load; 4,598 litres of PMS (Premium Motor Spirits, also known as fuel); 800 litres of diesel; 28 units of used vehicles; 16 units of motorcycle (means of conveyance); 11 kegs of vegetable oil; 102 bales of secondhand clothing; 19 sacks of 2,166 pairs of used shoes; 427 wraps of cannabis sativa; four packet of Tramadol (120mg); 90 pieces of used tyres; and 39 cartons of tomato paste”.
He however lamented that the command lost an officer, ASCI Saheed Aweda, who was killed by the hoodlums that attacked the JBPT officers at Igboho town in Orelope Local Government (LGA) of Oyo State. The team, Peter said, was conveying the rice and PMS seized at Sinau-Kenu Road in Baruten LGA of Kwara State.
He warned the smugglers, who still have intention to smuggle illicit, controlled and prohibited goods or engage in human trafficking and other criminal activities. to think twice, adding that “there will be no hiding place for them as the new patrol strategies adopted by the sector in line with the presidential directive against illegal perpetrators who are bent on derailing the nation’s economy will be made face full wrath of the law.
“This trend of unprovoked attacks by faceless cowards whose intention is to instill fear in the minds of law enforcement operatives shall not go unpunished. Neither will it dampen the resolve of our officers and men from carrying out their statutory duties.
“I wish to categorically state that we will continue to carry out the anti-smuggling crusade in spite of the unwarranted attacks. The sector wants to use this medium to advise parents/guardians to warn their wards to desist from obstructing our operatives from performing their legitimate duties as the sector will not hesitate to use appropriate force in line with rules of engagement and will leave our officers with no other alternative than to defend themselves in the interest of the nation”.