By Okezie Nnadi
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service said it recorded a total of 144 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3.3 billion in June 2021.
Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Usman B. Yahaya, who disclosed this, to Journalists this Wednesday on a showcase of the said items, said the daredevil smugglers attempted to smuggle the items into the country through unapproved routes determined to sabotage the nation’s economy, by circumventing trade and extant laws of the country.
The breakdown of the seizures according to the FOU boss include 14,789 bags of 59kg rice, 727 cartons of unregistered drugs, 2,784 cartons of frozen poultry products, 28 units of smuggled used vehicles and 116,000 litres of petrol (4649 jerricans).
Others as recorded by the FOU, are 237 bales of second hand clothes, six sacks of second hand clothing, 20 cartons of Tramadol, 885 prices of used tyres, 10,400 cartons of alcohol beverages, 84 different kinds of vehicles laden with 50kg bags of nar and 5×29 ft containers of semi processed woods.
He disclosed that 28 units of exotic cars valued at N258.61 million were also seized within the same period.
The Controller was however befuddled as to why someone would undertake to smuggle a car worth more than N50 million through the land borders, having it at the back of his mind that it could be confiscated when apprehended.
“The period under review recorded a total of 144 seizures with a Duty Paid Value of N3.3 billion. We also arrested 23 suspects in connection with the seizures. Out of the 23 suspects, 12 have secured administrative bail, while 11 are still in our custody.
“Two of the suspects had attempted to smuggle in cannabis sativa also known as Indian hemp.
“From the foregoing, you will all agree that smugglers are undaunted in their nefarious activities to cripple the economy with the magnitude of the seizures showcased. With the series of seizures, one would have expected a reduction in their activities. Nevertheless, we have the capacity and capability to render smugglers in this zone miserable. Whatever is the driving force behind their activities, we will continue to make it unprofitable for them.
“We have also been having confrontation with smugglers especially in the volatile areas like Ogun and Idiroko axis, where smuggling is considered a legitimate business. However, such confrontation will never deter our operatives from carrying out their statutory responsibility. Smugglers must desist from engaging in smuggling activities,” Yahaya was point-blank.