We donate seized smuggled items to IDPs

Customs impounds imported vehicles, rice, others in Katsina

All goods seized from smugglers are sent to internally displaced persons camps across the country, Katsina State Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Services has said.

Dalha Wada said this to PREMIUM TIMES in a brief interview at the sideline of a security meeting in Katsina on Tuesday.

“Even today (Tuesday), the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry is coming to take delivery of some of these seized goods on humanitarian grounds. All textile materials and food items now go straight to IDP camps. We don’t benefit from such goods. And I will personally invite you to see them (goods) being taken today,” Mr Wada said.

He said more than four states, including Borno and Yobe, have received from contraband impounded in Katsina.

Mr Wada said the goods, when taken to such states, were taken directly to IDP camps.

He said from March this year when he assumed control of the command, goods worth N454, 990, 129 had been impounded.

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Raids

Mr Wada said the officers of the service engage in raid to ensure smuggled goods are taken away.

He said they only break into stores after gathering intelligence from reliable people, noting that the law backs the Service to conduct such raids.

“Section 147 empowers you to search premises when you have an intelligence report of a smuggler keeping contraband. Section 148 empowers you to go into a licensed premises. Section 149 says you can stop a vehicle or ship to check for contraband.

“We don’t give prior notice to people we are suspecting because we want to be sure that we get what we want to seize. We also don’t give search warrant because that is what the law says. And we can break in at any time of the day.”

Commenting on Tuesday’s accident involving officers of the service in which at least six persons died, Mr Wada said an investigation was going on to unravel the truth.

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“We are not just sleeping over it. I have ordered a full scale investigation. The preliminary report we got said the officers were going back to their check point when the vehicle developed brake fault, but we have started investigation into what really happened.”

He also noted that the accident involved officers on the border drill duty being supervised directly from the office of the National Security Adviser, noting that the NSA office has also started investigation on the accident.

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