By Eric Elezuo
The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, Lagos, of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), has disclosed that it made a seizure of items to the cumulative sum of Seven Hundred and Eighty Three Million, Six Hundred and Forty Nine Thousand, Two Hundred and Three Naira, two kobo (N783, 649,203.2) within three weeks.
Disclosing this to the press, the Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, said the achievement was made possible as a result of the doggedness and resolve of the officers and men of the unit, expressing his happiness at the turn of events.
Garba noted that the ‘recent gains of the Nigeria Customs Service’ was a product of disciplined manhunt and excellent surveillance carried out between August 9 and 25, 2017
He said: “After intensifying our operational modalities, the field operatives fortified with credible information, trailed and evacuated 27 assorted vehicles smuggled into the country through unapproved routes.”
The Comptroller highlighted the seized items to include high flying vehicles such as Toyota Prado Jeep, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Highlander, Mercedes Benz among others, of 2007 to 2013 models while putting its duty paid value to Two Hundred and Twenty Eight Million, Two Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty Nine Naira, One Kobo (N228, 215,429.1) only.
Mr. Garba noted that the improved anti-smuggling operations of the unit also led to interception of other contraband items like parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, Indian Hemp, medicaments, used tyres, and various general merchandise with a duty paid value (DPV) of Three Hundred and Three Million, Two Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Six Hundred and Seventy One Naira, Eighty Five kobo (N303, 260,671.85) only.
He added that a total of 16 suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures.
In addition, the Comptroller said that a total of Two Hundred and Fifty Two Million, One Hundred and Seventy Three Thousand, Two Hundred and One Naira, Twenty Five kobo only (N252,173,201.25) was recovered as duty payments and demand notices on general goods at “seaports, airport and border stations through wrong classification, transfer of value, and shortchange”.
While appreciating the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and the entire management team of the NCS for making the operations successful with the enabling environment, Comptroller Garba urge all compliant traders not to exercise any fear while embarking on their legitimate businesses, but to be honest in their declarations.
He noted: “As one of the enforcement agencies of government, we will continue to work towards ensuring compliance with all extant laws governing imports and exports in Nigeria.”
As a note of warning, the Unit ‘A’ leader reminded all and sundry that policies banning the importation of rice and vehicles through land borders are still in place even as the ember months are around the corner.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal Government policies banning the importation of Rice and Vehicles through the land borders are still in force. Nigeria Customs Service remains tenacious in its determination to enforce these policies,” he said.
The Comptroller informed that the seized drugs had been handed over to the appropriate agencies.
“In the spirit of inter-agency collaboration; the seized Indian hemp and the Medicaments were handed over to NDLEA and NAFDAC for thorough investigation,” he said.
He further extended his appreciation to other sister agencies, especially the military and the Police, for their continuous support in curbing crime while urging the press to keep up their good work.