By Okezie Nnadi
The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ has intercepted three trucks freighting 6×20ft containers of unprocessed timber logs.
While speaking with Journalists, the Zonal Coordinator for Zone ‘C’, Ag. ACG Olusemire Kayode While displaying the intercepted items at the zonal headquarters, Port Harcourt earlier today, said the two suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure.
The ACG noted that the exportation of unprocessed timber contravenes schedule 6 of the Extant Common External Tariff (CET), adding that deforestation comes with negative effects such as desert encroachment and environmental degradation.
He explained that when tree felling is not curtailed, the ecosystem and its biodiversity could be destroyed, noting that the economic loss suffered by Nigeria as a result of this economic sabotage is unpatriotic and detrimental to growth.
The Coordinator commended the Unit Controller, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal Psc+ and his officers for their resilience, doggedness and steadfastness in tackling smuggling, even as he cautioned against the unwarranted attacks on the operatives in the cause of carrying out their legitimate duties.
Continuing, Kayode explained that, “On July 16, 2021 at about 2.00pm, one of the surveillance teams of FOU Zone ‘C’, acting on credible intelligence trailed and intercepted three trucks conveying 6×20ft containers of logs of rough timber along industrial road, Port- Harcourt.
“We also arrested two suspected smugglers who were attempting to export the unprocessed logs but they have been released on administrative bail. Exportation of rough timber which contravenes schedule 6 of the extant CET comes with negative economic and environmental effects and must not be condoned”, he reiterated.
Also speaking, the Unit Controller, Lawal said that the logs were about to be smuggled out of the country without clearance from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), giving the registration numbers of the containers to include MSCU-3470637, MSDU-1497355, MEDU-9739916, MEDU-5627573, MSDU-6248794 and MEDU-6792783.
Lawal said, “NEPC is an agency of government which takes note of products that are meant for exportation so that the proceeds can be repatriated accordingly. Unfortunately NEPC is not aware of these logs and have not issued any Nigeria Export Proceeds form, further confirming that the logs were about to be smuggled out “, he said