The Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ of the Nigerian Customs Service, an anti-smuggling arm of the Service in Lagos has recorded 54 seizures ranging from choice cars and parboiled rice, with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth over N783m within only 16 days.
Similarly, between Wednesday 9th and Friday 25th August, 2017, the command also arrested 16 suspects who are currently undergoing interrogations, preparatory to being dragged before a competent court in Lagos for illegally engaging in smuggling.
Briefing newsmen in Lagos on Monday, the Command’s Custom Area Comptroller, Comptroller Mohammed Uba warned smugglers operating within the Zone, to desist from testing the resolve of his officers, stressing that their adventures would always result in the forfeiture of their capitals.
Providing a breakdown of the seizures, Uba stated that his officers actually impounded 27 choice vehicles, comprising of Toyota Prado jeep, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Hilander, and Mercedes Benz amongst others, ranging from 2007 to 2013 models respectively. The vehicles alone came with a Duty Paid Value of N228,215,429.
“Similarly, our reinvigorated anti smuggling operations yielded positive gains through interception of other contraband comprising of foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, Indian hemp, medicaments, used tyres and various general merchandise.
“Three containers were also seized for false declaration with a duty paid value of N303,260,671.85;
“In the same vein, the unit through our interventions recovered N252,173,201.25 from duty payments and Demand Notices on general goods that tried to outsmart our officers at seaport, airport and border stations through wrong classification, transfer of value and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for federal government of Nigeria making a cumulative sum of N783,649,203 within the weeks under review,” Comptroller Uba Mohammed indicated further, noting that the ban on rice movement through land is still in force.
“For avoidance of doubt, the Federal Government policies banning the importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders are still in force.
“And the Nigerian Custom Service still remains tenacious in its determination to enforce these policies”, the FOU Boss stated, tasking the media to continue to enlighten Nigerians, particularly as we enter the ’ember months’, with their attendant boost in economic activities and boom.
“Let me use this opportunity to send this warning message to smugglers wishing to use South west zone to desist from such illegal trade as we all are well equipped with all necessary arsenal to crippled smugglers and send them out of their illegitimate businesses.
“I urge all compliant traders not to exercise fear while embarking on their legitimate businesses but to be honest in their declarations because as one of the enforcement agencies of government, we will continue to work towards supporting compliance with all extant laws governing imports and exports in Nigeria.
While responding to questions, the Controller noted that the Command had in the spirit of inter agency collaborations, delivered the seized Indian hemp and medicaments over to NDLEA and NAFDAC for thorough investigation; and commended the Millitary and the police for their continuous support to his Command towards curbing crime.