The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, Zone A, Ikeja, intercepted 22 brand new vehicles smuggled into the country in a recent raid of the Ikoyi andVictoria Island areas of Lagos State.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the unit, Mr. Uche Ejesieme, on behalf of the Controller, Mr. Turaki Adamu, said the raid was made at 11.45hrs on Sunday, August 24, 2014.
The vehicles, according to him, are 19 Toyota Hilux pickups, two Izuzu-DMAX jeeps and one Toyota Land Cruiser GRX 2014 model, which were valued at N186.4m.
The statement quoted Adamu as saying that the seizure was made possible by intelligence gathering, which enabled the operatives to lay ambush for the vehicles.
The FOU operatives were said to have trailed the vehicles from an unapproved route through which they came into the country but could not intercept them there because of the possibility of recording casualties.
Adamu said, “As professionals with the requisite training and competence, the operatives of the unit could not afford to embark on aggressive confrontation with the smugglers, particularly in densely populated areas, hence the need to trail them to a safe place.
“Despite these precautionary measures, the smugglers engaged our operatives in a gun duel but were over powered by the superior fire powers of our operatives. However, there were no casualties.”
Adamu had recently vowed to re-awaken the unit as a hub of anti-smuggling in the country.
He said, “I thank the Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Abdullahi Inde, and his management team for their unflinching support in terms of logistics, provision of arms/ammunition, functional patrol vehicles, training/re-training and staff remuneration and motivation.
“This seizure was made possible due to the dexterity, resilience, commitment and dedication of all officers/men of the unit, particularly the officers of the said patrol team.
“I intend to sustain the present tempo with a view to repositioning the anti-smuggling ambience of the unit.”