The outgoing comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service, Eastern Marine Command, Usman Kankara, has said that his command had donated bags of seized rice to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camps rather than auctioning them to the public.
Mr Kankara stated this during a valedictory service in his honour organised by Head of Federal Government Agencies in Rivers State.
He disclosed that the Nigerian Navy assisted the customs command in intercepting boats laden with carefully concealed smuggled rice while sailing on the high sea.
Mr Kankara said: “Apart from handing over the smugglers who were mostly foreigners to the Nigeria Immigration Service for further investigation, the National Emergency Management Agency was handed over the food items for onward distribution to IDPs.”
He said the constant synergy and inter-agency collaboration between his command with military and other security agencies in the zone had yielded immeasurable results.
“The excellent collaborations of agencies in the zone with persistent onslaught on smugglers drastically reduced smuggling of prohibited items through the waterways.
“Intelligence sharing and synergy, especially in the riverine areas checkmated the activities of smugglers, pirates and pipeline vandals,” he said.
Recalling some of his achievements, the outgoing comptroller said the operatives of his command intercepted and detained a vessel named ‘MV Defender V’ for sailing without a valid Bank Bond.
“The vessel is a patrol vessel from South Africa, used in piloting tanker vessels. The 7-man crew vessel, however, had a temporary importation permit but no valid Bank Bond. We detained the vessel as a punishment for operating in Nigerian waters without Temporary Importation Permit and a Valid Bank Bond,” he said.
He said the incident compelled other ship owners plying the Nigerian territorial waters to always seek Temporary Importation Permit from the Nigeria Customs Service and obtain the valid Bank Bond before either approaching or sailing into Nigerian waters.
Mr Bello, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, reached the apex rank of Comptroller of Customs at the service in 2009 after joining the service in 1982. He has also headed several Customs Area Commands including Kano, the Federal Capital Territory, Sokoto, among others.
He served as the Public Relations Officer of Apapa Port and Tincan Island Commands and got the Best Public Relations Officer Award of the service by the Comptroller General of Customs in 1999.
As Customs Area Controller of Kano Command in 2010, he received Certificate of Commendation from the CGC when he surpassed the revenue target with a wide surplus.
The outgoing comptroller was conferred with the traditional title of Kanwan Katsina (Warrior) in November 2000 by the late Emir of Katsina, Kabir Usman.