Fake USD amounting to six million was officially handed over to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) by the Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service.
The event which was witnessed by newsmen was officially led by the Area Controller, Dera Nnadi at Seme
In his opening remark which was to communicate the activities, successes and challenges of the Command in the first quarter of the year, Comptroller Nnadi reminded the press that it was exactly two months and a half since he assumed office at Seme Command.
Speaking further, Nnadi told journalists that upon his resumption, he pledged to adopt new strategies to boost trade while enforcing the nation’s anti-smuggling laws along the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor (ALCO) in line with the ECOWAS protocols on the free movement of goods and persons.
He said that he also promised to encourage compliant traders along the corridor while enforcing the law against inflexible offenders who will wish to test our resolve.
In line with keeping to these promises the Command has in the first quarter of 2023 facilitated the movement of ETLS: 425 Trucks with fees amounting to N314, 720, 938.71
412 baggage declarations with duty amounting to N58,844,382. The items imported under this arrangement include food products and beverages produced within the sub-region.
For export, 1,243 trucks bearing 40,096.47 metric tons of made-in-Nigeria cargo declared on 165 Single Administrative Documents (SAD) with Free On Board value If N4, 291,322,887.19 kobos and National Export Supervision Scheme Fes of N21, 456,551.83K.
During the same period in 2022, 3006 trucks bearing 116,053.9 metric tons of cargo with FOB value of N6, 597, 506, 993.28K with NESS Fee of N32, 989,006.16 was recorded.
Regrettably, there is a shortfall in export to the tune of 75,000 metric tons of cargo due to competition between Dangote Cement and competitors in the cement market at Togo.
Other sources of revenue for the Command are fees collected from the auction sales of seized items especially petroleum products and other perishable items.
To this end, the Command generated a total of Three Hundred and Fifty Million, Ninety-Nine Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty-One Niara Seventy-One Kobo (N350, 099,541.71) in the first quarter of 2023.
The above is One Hundred and Five Million, Ninety-Five Thousand, Seven Hundred and Eight Niara Seventy-Six Kobo (N105,095,708.76) or 23.09 per cent short of Four Hundred and Fifty-Five Million, One Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty Naira Forty-Seven Kobo (N455,195,250,.47) collected in the corresponding period in 2022.
He said that the deficit could be attributed to the break in activities during the cashless policy and the wait by the traders for the outcome of the general election. Also, recall that I had earlier informed you that the economic policy of the Republic of Benin which charges fees on goods in transit to Nigeria constitutes tariff barriers to trade along the corridor. These affected the Commands revenue and need urgent review.
One of the core mandates of the Service in Seme as elsewhere is trade facilitation. The Command is conscious of its strategic location as the foremost frontier for trade and tourism in West and Central Africa, particularly the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and the emerging African Continental Free Tade Area (AfCFTA).
He said that he knows that Nigeria has lots of potential in both trade regimes considering its GDP, population and industrial capacity which is the highest in the West and Central Africa subregion and indeed Africa.
In his words: “, I wish to repeat as I had earlier mentioned in my previous interactions with the media that the major source of revenue of the Command (import/export) has not been enhanced since the opening of the land Borders as directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the traders are still bracing with the challenges of having been out of business for over two years.
Where few have embraced the reality of the circumstances, they have requested and appealed for a review of the process of obtaining approvals for re-exportation which requires that they go to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning at Abuja for every application for re-exportation.”
Anti-smuggling and Enforcement Activities
“Realising that a secured border will translate to more revenue even at the sea ports, Seme Command in the first quarter of 2023 has recorded milestones in its anti-smuggling operations.
Some of the anti-smuggling landmarks by the Command include the seizure of fake $6m (Six Million) USD (the equivalent of N2.763 Billion at an exchange rate of N460.52 ) which will be handed over to the EFCC today.”
Also seized in the first quarter is 2, 242 bags of 50kg rice equivalent to 112,100 kg or four trailer loads of foreign par boiled with a Duty Paid Value of N72, 700, 480.
7, 587 by 30 litres of Premium Motor Spirit equivalent of 227,610 litres or Seven Tanker loads of PMS with duty paid value of N51, 075, 684
550 pieces of donkey skin with duty paid value of N10,689,504.
Also seized are Six Maltese International Passports with the same picture of a lady but bearing different names, Two Senegalese International Passports, Three Togolese International Passports, Four Republic of Benin International Passports, One Republic of Niger International Passport and Ten International Driving License of these various countries which will be handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service on the orders of the CGC and in line with the Service desire to consolidate the synergy between NCS and partner agencies.
More seizures by the Command include 1160 pieces of dead rats, 1102 pieces of dead tiny birds and 34 pieces of monkey skin and 14 parcels of cannabis sativa.
These achievements, he stated, were not made on a platter of gold. Rather it took the serious efforts of the officers who spend hours on patrol and surveillance to record the seizures. We wish to restate that we will not relent on this effort and for this reason, the officers are being commended.
Comptroller Nnadi assured Nigerians that the Command will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on the social/economic implication of smuggling as well as performing statutory functions of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies.
He called on stakeholders in the Seme Krake Corridor and beyond to prepare to embrace AfCFTA while consolidating on the gains ETLS.
Finally, he thanked the CGC and management of Customs, officers and men of the Command, community leaders and partner government agencies for collaborating with the Service for their support. He also appreciated the Press for being objective in reporting the challenges faced by Officers while executing their duty.