Federal Operating Unit
(FOU) Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service is making life difficult for smugglers in its area by impounding items running into millions of naira thereby inflicting losses on notorious economic saboteurs.
While addressing newsmen the Acting Controller of the FOU Hussein Ejibundu enumerated the successes of his officers and men in combating the smuggling of different items into the country in 2023.
According to Ejibundu “Our strategies are consistently being reworked in our efforts to be ahead of the economic saboteurs, towards defeating their game of concealment, false declaration, underpayment, and duty evasion. Prominent among the seizures made for contravening various sections of the extant Customs laws are:
6,228 X 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 11 trailer loads)
35,325 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS)
279 Cartons of foreign poultry products
105 parcels (50kg) of cannabis sativa
2 x 40 ft containers said to contain 883 bales of used clothes
8 units of foreign used vehicles.
The total worth of these goods in terms of duty paid value (DPV) stood at Six Hundred and Ninety-Four Million, Four Hundred and Sixty-Two Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty Naira (N694,462,150.00). Five suspects were arrested in connection with some of the goods.
While the federal government played its role by imposing trade restrictions to protect our local companies and farmers from unhealthy competition with foreign firms, the onus lies on its citizens to complement the government’s efforts with that of compliance with the Customs’ extant regulations and government’s fiscal policies. This can be achieved by making sincere declarations, and being properly guided by the import/export prohibition lists”
The Comptroller noted that the wisdom behind the government’s protectionist policy is to safeguard the national economy and secure its citizens’ lives and property. Smuggled bales of used clothes expose its users to fungal diseases and other skin diseases like scabies.
Furthermore, he continued, apart from the effect of smuggled foreign frozen poultry products on the economy, it also affects the health of its consumers. Some of these frozen poultry products are preserved under questionable conditions. This assertion is embedded in some previous laboratory reports by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
As a part of the results achieved from the reworked strategy; expired, illicit, and other drugs that did not comply with the statutory import requirements were intercepted at different times and locations are constructively warehoused in 39 x 140 ft and 2 x 20 ft containers by this Unit, and will be handed over to NAFDAC for possible destruction (with a DPV of N1,422,000,000).
Consequently, in of the efforts of the FOU to prevent loss of government revenue to duty underpayments that either arose from the undervaluation of imported items or wrong Harmonized System (HS) code classification; the sum of Seventy-Two Million, Six Hundred and Ninety-Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Seven Naira, Nine Kobo (N72,693,307.09) was recovered during the period under review.
These seizures are a reflection of the Operating Unit’s commitment to duty and non-compromise in the discharge of its functions aimed at protecting the nation’s economy and preventing importation of prohibited and harmful products from entering our domestic markets.
He thus encouraged the general public to approach any Customs office across the country for information and guidance concerning international trade.