By Okezie Nnadi
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service, has announced the interceptions of various cargoes including 8,999 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg, approximately 15 trailer loads, as well as sundry items valued at N1,021,263,350.
Acting Controller of the Unit, Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu while briefing journalists in Lagos on Wednesday stated that the logistics support of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, CFR (Rtd), and members of his management team, the patrol vehicles received and other operational support provisions made by the CGC has highly motivated his officers in making these seizures.
Giving a breakdown of the items seized, they included; 85,300 litres of PMS, 812 pieces of used tyres, 1 x 40 FT Container STC Charcoal, 2 x 20 FT Container containing 4,004 cartons of Tomato Paste and 5 units of used vehicles (Tokunbo)
Others are; 40 cartons of 4 &5 litres of vegetable oil, 128 parcels of Indian Hemp, 13 cartons of knock out, 243 bales of used clothing, 2,976 cartons of new shoes and 37 cartons of used poultry
Ejibunu condemned the lawlessness of the smugglers, even as he described them as enemies of Nigerian national economy. According to him, their expected desperation exhibited towards the end of the year has reared its ugly head.
According to him fourteen suspects were arrested for different offences during the period under review. Thirteen were released on administrative bail, while one is in custody.
Speaking he said “Ahead of the yuletide season, Federal Operations Unit in Zone A has recharged it’s all round the clock operations across all South West states of the country, lawfully confronting smugglers and duty evaders as provided for in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
“Without exception to the month of November, we have continually intensified our onslaught against smuggling. Dutiful implementation of Customs extant laws by this unit has yielded seizures worth a total duty paid value (DPV) of One Billion, Twenty-one Million, Two Hundred and Sixty-three Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty Naira (N1,021,263,350)
“We were able to achieve the collection of Fourty-three Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-seven Naira, Twenty-five Kobo (N43,530,867.25) through issued uncompromising demand notices (DN) to collect the detected and identified shortfalls in duty payments.
“It is worthy of emphasis that the collected revenue would have been lost through different modes of duty evasion such as undervaluation, under declaration, application of wrong Harmonized System (HS) codes and false declarations, but for our meticulous oversight and prevention as a layer of checks.
“As the year draws to a close, let me reiterate our warning to smugglers, intending smugglers and their collaborators; that FOU Zone A, would watch, remain active and vigilant at all times. We shall vigorously go after them wherever they travel through, or store smuggled items, even if the smuggled goods are stored in their bedrooms, we shall lawfully swoop on them. It is an ongoing battle that we shall not relent on.
“Without mincing words, I dare say that smugglers would be confronted with the worst Christmas in their life of crime, this December. Not only are we going to seize their wares, but we are also determined to arrest them for prosecution” he assured.