Customs intercepts explosive-making chemicals in Ogun

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Operatives of the Federal Operations Unit of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos have intercepted 20 drums of carbide, a chemical substance used in manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Acting Controller of the unit, Deputy Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, who made the disclosure while addressing newsmen in Lagos, said the chemicals were hidden under a truck that was intercepted in the Ijebu Ode area of Ogun State, adding that the unit also made seizure worth over N579.412 million in the month of August 2022, and arrested a total of 10 suspects in connection with some of the seizures.

On the chemical, he said: “On the seized 20 drums of carbide, it is instructive to emphasise that such importation raises concerns of national security.

“This is because it is a chemical used in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and could cause danger to life and property.

“Allowing things like this chemical into the society uncontrollably could create serious security challenges for the country. Carbide is flammable, reactive and can cause explosion hazards when mixed with other chemicals and exposed to water or moisture.

“It forms flammable acetylene gas that could be used to endanger lives by lawless persons. This is aside from other health hazards, the chemical on exposure can irritate the mouth, nose and throat if not properly handled. Inhaling Calcium Carbide can irritate the lungs.”

He disclosed that such importation requires approval of the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA), where an End User Certificate (EUC) ought to have been issued to authorise such importation, adding that higher exposures may cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs and could lead to emergency medical situation. Its importation is, therefore, strictly controlled from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

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“Other seizures made last month from smugglers and importers who falsely declared their consignments include 1 x 40ft containing flavour seasoning, falsely declared as auto spare parts; 1 x 40ft containing auto interior accessories, falsely declared as filters/pneumatic transmission.

“1 X 40ft containing vegetable oil and foreign parboiled rice, falsely declared as used vehicles; 1 x 20ft containing 21 pallets of tiles, falsely declared as PVC floor tiles/floor bricks 1 x 20ft containing Padi Bitters, falsely declared as olive nuts;1 x 20ft containing unprocessed wood, falsely declared as aluminum ingots and 1 x 20ft containing bales of used clothes and shoes, with a used fake seal/Dangote Truck.

“Other seizures include 5,593 (50kg) bags of foreign parboiled rice; equivalent to nine trailers truck load; 56,725 litres of premium motor spirit ; 375 bales of used clothes; 242 parcels of Indian Hemp and 41 pieces of military camouflage bags, he added.

He said efforts to prevent loss of government revenue to duty underpayments, undervaluation of imported items and wrong harmonised system (HS) code classification led to the recovery of a total of N46.298 million.

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