Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, Owerri of the Nigeria Customs Service has disclosed that it intercepted hard drugs, pangolin scales and other contrabands worth N2.7bn in two months.
According to a statement by the zone’s Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah, the Acting Comptroller of the Zone, Kayode Kolade, disclose this on Wednesday while showcasing some of the seized goods to newmen.
He said the the unit also recovered the sum of #61.467 million from demand notices raised based on some infractions discovered, making a cumulative sum of #2,819 billion within the period under review, the zone arrested 13 suspects in connection with the seizures.
Kolade who assumed office on January 25 said that the seizures were among his significant achievement,
He added that the zone arrested 13 suspects in connection with the seizures within the period of January 25 to March 25 2023.
He listed other seized contraband to include, five sacks of pangolin scales weighing 413.1kg, 398 sacks of cannabis sativa, popularly known as Indian Hemp weighing 8,756kg and 2,308 compressed parcels of Indian Hemp 1kg each totalling 2,308kg.
“Others were 26 cartons of CMC Cough Syrup with codeine 100mg, containing 2,600 bottles; three units of exotic vehicles, all bulletproof,
931 jumbo bales of second hand clothing; 484 bags of smuggled rice; 31 cartons of various medicaments including four rolls of ZH tramadol containing 40 packs; 32 jerry cans of PMS (25litres each) and 540 pieces of used pneumatic tyres,” he added.
He said that the successes so far recorded were in line with his management mandate which includes: blockage of all revenue leakages, trade facilitation and intensification of anti-smuggling operations at various entry points; seaports, land borders, and Airport within the Unit’s areas of jurisdiction in the south/south-South/East zone
“After reviewing and re-jigging our operational modalities based on the approved Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the unit lived up to its responsibility by intercepting various contrabands with a duty paid value (DPV) N2.758 billion between January 25 to March 25, 2023 making it my two month score card.
“Similarly, based on our intervention we recovered the sum of N61.467 million from demand notices raised based on some infractions discovered, making a cumulative sum of N2.819 billion within the months under review.
“Remarkably, the five sacks of pangolin scales weighing 413.1kilograme and the 11,064kg of the Indian hemp are the highest if not arguably the first seizure of such endangered species and hard drugs in the history of Federal Operations Unit Zone C,” he said.
According to him, effort towards combatting the illicit trade on endangered species is to ensure that such animals don’t go into extinction. Hence, he said Nigeria; a signatory to CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) categorizes the scales under absolute prohibition making its importation or trade illegal globally.
The CAC called for improved serenity and cooperation of all stakeholders and the general public to kindly and humbly comply when stopped for search and show mutual maximum respect to field officers and the Service in general.
He promised that his officers would always act professionally while performing their statutory responsibilities based on the approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with a touch of a human face especially as the festive period nears.
He however attributed the sterling feat to the leadership style of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), and hi the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service for their efforts in recognizing commitment, dedication, and hard work.