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The Nigeria Customs Service has disclosed that about 697 illegal immigrants have been arrested and seized contraband goods worth N7.4bn seven months into the partial closure of the nation’s borders.

The Comptroller General, NCS, Hameed Ali, (retd), said this in a statement on Tuesday.

In the statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr Jpseph Attah, Ali said the border closure had conserved the country’s huge resources and enhanced national security.

The importation of drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons which usually fuelled terrorism and other forms of criminality in the country have been considerably curtailed, the Customs boss also said.

He noted that the agricultural sector had also received a boost due to the restriction placed on the importation of rice and other prohibited food items.

He said, “The Office of the National Security Adviser which is coordinating the exercise has continued to record a large number of seizures and arrests from the four sectors of the North-West, North-Central, South-West, and South-South geopolitical zones.

As of March 6, 2020, 697 illegal migrants had been arrested, he said.

Seizures included 86,602-50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 695 bags of NPK fertiliser; 1,172 vehicles; 2,997 drums filled with Premium Motor Spirit; 16,771 empty 200-litre drums of PMS; 90 engine boats.

He said, “Others are 68 drums of groundnut oil; 26 trucks (33,000 litres) of PMS; 14,604 jerricans of PMS; 656 motorcycles; 15,089 jerricans of PMS, vegetable oil.

“The estimated monetary value of the seizures is N7,350,818,657.70.”

Ali reiterated the commitment of Nigeria to ongoing diplomatic engagements to finding lasting solutions to the concerns that necessitated the partial border closure.

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