The Joint Task Force, Border Drill Operations, has raided smugglers’ warehouses in Unyenghe, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom and seized over 800 bags of smuggled rice.
Speaking with newsmen on Sunday, he described the area as smugglers haven, comfort zone and city of rice discovered through intelligence information.
The task force comprising Nigeria Customs Service, Army, Air Force DSS and the Police, were led by the Comptroller of Customs and Sector Coordinator for South South and South East Zone, Mr Shehu Abubakar.
“We are here at Unyenghe community in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State to check and seized products smuggled into this community,” Abubakar said.
He threatened, “They should rather start embarking on legitimate trade, because if we come back and find out that they are still in the line of the illegal business, we will have no option than to burn down their make shift houses.”
According to him, the law empowers the Customs to search premises and to patrol freely, stressing that being in possession of smuggled items was an offence punishable under Customs and Excise Act.
He said the exercise was in accordance with the Federal Government decision to grow the local economy and to free the country from substandard goods.
“This is the first-time security agencies visit this community after so many years of smuggling activities in the area. They threaten to attack any security agency that may want to visit the area.
Abubakar warned the people in the coastal community not to aid smuggling activities, adding that the smugglers might be smuggling weapons and other dangerous equipments that might turn out to be destructive to the community.