…… Generates N2B in Nov 2023
The Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun II Area Command, has released a detained bullion van with N24.489.500.00 belonging to Access Bank Plc in Abeokuta.

The said Bullion van was impounded in April 2022 for being involved in the smuggling of foreign parboiled rice at the Olorunda area of the state by men and officers of the joint border patrol team.

The Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Bisi Alade, during a press briefing at the Command on Friday, 5th January 2024, said 3 suspects were arrested, detained, and granted administrative bail and subsequently charged to court for aiding smuggling.

“We gather here today to release the Bullion Van with registration number FKJ 993 BZ in our custody. The vehicle belongs to Warehouse Ltd while the money, N24,489,500.00, belongs to Access Bank PLC Abeokuta Branch and both were detained by the Officers and Men of the Joint Border Patrol Team for being used to smuggle foreign parboiled rice.

“Consequently, the vehicle and items were conveyed to the Customs House, Abeokuta, for safekeeping. After examining the vehicle, the stated amount of money was discovered and deposited at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abeokuta branch for safekeeping. The vehicle was detained while the rice was converted to seizure in line with relevant law,” Alade said.

The CAC disclosed that the gesture of the release was on the instruction of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR.

“In a bid to retrieve the detained Bullion Van and the money, the Bankers Warehouse Ltd and Access Bank wrote an appeal letter to the Comptroller-General of Customs for release on compassionate grounds, based on the outcome of investigation and recommendations of the Investigation Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service,” he stated.

He noted that the CGC approved the release of the detained Van and the Money in line with the provision of relevant laws.

“On this note, on behalf of the CGC, the Bullion Van with Reg. No. FKJ 993 BZ in our custody and the sum of N24,489,500.00 deposited at the CBN are hereby handed over,” the CAC revealed.

Comptroller Alade stated that the process for retrieving the said amount of money should be completed before the end of the day.

He appreciated the CGC for the opportunity to carry out the responsibility on his behalf while also stating that “the command will not condone any act of smuggling or criminality in the State.’’

In a related development, the command generated N2,042,846,429.57 in November 2023.

Comptroller Alade emphasised that the command will continue to deploy sustained intelligence, reconnaissance, effective monitoring and robust stakeholders engagement in its operations.