The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, Lagos has realized about N8.6 billion from intercepted contrabands and duty received on imported goods in the last six months.
Giving a breakdown of the earnings, Public Relations Officer, FOU, Jerry Attah said the duty paid value (DPV) of various intercepted contraband stood at N8.6 billion, while about N405.2 billion was realized from duty payments and demand notices on vehicles and general goods that tried to cut corners from seaports, airport and border stations through wrong classification, transfer of value, and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the government coffers.
Attah said about 596 different seizures were made between January and June 2018, as a result of its strengthened its anti-smuggling operations. He stated: “107 suspects were arrested in connection with 596 different seizures comprising 34,652 foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 58 trailers); 167 units of exotic vehicles (Toyota Prado/Lexus; bullet proof), Toyota C-HR , Toyota Camry LE, Toyota Prado(s), Toyota Hilux, Ford F150, Pajero Jeeps, Mercedes Benz ranging from 2015-2018 models respectively); 8,987 cartons frozen poultry products, 4,586 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 3,463 cartons of different pharmaceutical/medicaments, 370 parcels/98 sacks of Indian hemp weighing 1,350kg, and various general merchandise.
“Remarkable among the seizures within this period, was the interception of 460 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 12, 264 kg and 218 elephant tusks, making it the highest seizure of such endangered species in the history of Federal Operations Unit Zone A,” he stated, adding that the seized pangolin and elephant tusk are valued at N2.7 billion with two Chinese national as suspects.
Commenting on the seizures, Comptroller Mohammed Uba said: “In order to ensure full implementation of the Government policy banning the importation of rice through land borders, we re-strategized our operational modalities and beam our searchlight at the creek, water side, and at various locations in southwest zone and hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the months under review. We will continue to make sure smugglers within our areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging our economy”
Uba reiterated that even though smuggling is a global phenomenon that cannot be eradicated entirely, all hands must be on deck so that it could be reduced to its barest minimum. He commended the officers/men who have put their lives on the line making these seizures; most especially the over 58 trailers load of rice knowing fully well it’s a big battle at the creek.
He also charged his officers/men to be professional and diligent in performing their statutory responsibilities; most especially in the area of anti-smuggling operations by making sure all revenue linkages are blocked and encouraged them to keep thwarting the antics of those dare devil smugglers who used different methods for smuggling.