The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Eastern Marine Command has donated bags of seized rice to Internally Displaced People’s (IDPs) Camps rather than auctioning them to the public.
Out-going Controller-in-charge of the Customs Eastern Marine Command with headquarters in Port Harcourt, River State, Comptroller Usman Bello Kankara stated this during a valedictory service in his honour organised by Head of Federal Government Agencies in Rivers State.
He said the Nigerian Navy assisted the Customs Command in intercepting boats laden with carefully concealed smuggled rice while sailing on the high sea.
According to him, “Apart from handing over the smugglers, who were mostly foreigners to the Nigeria Immigration Service for further investigation, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was handed the food items for onward distribution to IDPs.’’
He said the constant synergy and inter-agency collaboration between his Command, the military and other security agencies in the zone had yielded immeasurable results, adding, “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.”
The outgoing Comptroller recalled some of his achievements to include operatives of the Command intercepting and detaining a vessel named ‘MV Defender V’ for sailing without a valid Bank Bond. He said: “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.”
Kankara said the incidence compelled other ship owners plying the Nigerian territorial waters to always seek for Temporary Importation Permit and obtain the Valid Bank Bond from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) before either approaching or sailing into Nigerian waters.
A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Bello, who joined the service in 1982, reached the apex rank of Comptroller of Customs in 2009. He has headed several Customs Area Commands, including Kano, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and Sokoto among others.
Bello also served as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Apapa Port and Tincan Island Commands and got the Best Public Relations Officer Award of the service by the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) 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, HRH Alhaji Kabir Usman CFR.