By Steve Agbota
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs service (NCS) at the weekend swooped on a massive stockpile of recently imported used tyres at a location off the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Mowe, Ogun State.
NCS said the stock was so huge and arranged in different batches that it would require many trailers to evacuate and obviously give the agency space problem for storage. The contraband also includes old, worn-out tyres that could pass for Nigeria-used – all in the premises that look so unsuspecting in spite of being along the expressway.
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Addressing newsmen at the venue, Ag. Compt. Hussein Ejibunu, said the unit got an intelligence on the stockpile and ordered men and officers of the unit to swing into action.
“You can see they are being packed in sizes; each size has one or two tucked into one. Used tyres fall under import prohibition list that should not be imported Nigeria,” he said.
Shocked at the possible use of such huge stock, Ejibunu said it could serve a twin purpose, but investigation will reveal whether they will retread and sell them as new because for someone to have the quantity kept in a discrete place like this has left much to be desired.
“It is important to let us know that smugglers are into different businesses in different facets. For someone to have these quantities, obviously it could not go to the market, it could be retreaded, but investigation will reveal that.
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“Equally, down there, there are few bales of used clothing, obviously to be ferried somewhere in Nigeria. It is heartrending to see that some unscrupulous Nigerians want to turn Nigeria into dumping ground. It is not good for our economy and it is not good for our health,” he added.
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However, he restated the resolve to reduce smuggling to the minimum in the country, adding that smuggling is killing the nation’s economy and causing health hazards for Nigerians.
“We as agencies of government are resolute and determined to fight this scourge of smuggling. Some credible intelligence led us to unravel this. This area is some kilometers from the Redeemed Christian Church of God along the Lagos Ibadan Expressway at Mowe.”
“Though no arrest has yet been made, he assured the unit will get the details of a container laden with brand new tryes, which was still in the premises, “and through this container we will link the owner of this place,” he explained.
On the possibility of the tyres being recycled to produce plastics, he said investigation will reveal that because, even if they do, it must be within the ambit of the law, adding that thetyres were not manufactured in Nigeria, but are foreign-used, and are prohibited in the first instance.
“Smugglers have so many ways and are into so many things, and they think virtually every second to beat government