March 28, 2023

Maritime Today Online

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Customs FOU ‘A’ seizes N3.3bn smuggled goods, arrests 23 in one month

Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Usman Yahaya showcasing some of the smuggled rice intercepted by the unit in Lagos on Wednesday.

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service on Wednesday said it recorded a total of 144 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3.3 billion in June 2021.

Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Usman Bello Yahaya, who made this disclosure while briefing journalists said the goods were being smuggled into the country through unapproved routes by criminal minded business who, according to him, are hell bent in sabotaging the nation’s economy, when they were seized.

Yahaya while giving a breakdown of the seizures said it includes 14,789 bags of 59kg rice, 727 cartons of unregistered drugs, 2,784 cartons of frozen poultry products, 28 units of smuggled used vehicles and 116,000 litres of petrol (4649 jerricans).

Others are 237 bales of second hand clothes, six sacks of secondhand clothing, 20 cartons of Tramadol, 885 prices of used tyres, 10,400 cartons of alcohol beverages, 84 different kinds of vehicles laden with 50kg bags of rice and 5×29 ft containers of semi processed woods.

He added that 28 units of exotic cars valued at N258.61 million were also seized within the same period.

The Customs boss wondered why someone would risk smuggling a car of over N50 million through the land borders, knowing well that it would be seized.

“The period under review recorded a total of 144 seizures with a Duty Paid Value of N3.3 billion. We also arrested 23 suspects in connection with the seizures. Out of the 23 suspects, 12 have secured administrative bail, while 11 are still in our custody.

“Two of the suspects had attempted to smuggle in cannabis sativa also known as Indian hemp.

“From the foregoing, you will all agree that smugglers are undaunted in their nefarious activities to cripple the economy with the magnitude of the seizures showcased. With the series of seizures, one would have expected a reduction in their activities. Nevertheless, we have the capacity and capability to render smugglers in this zone miserable. Whatever is the driving force behind their activities, we will continue to make it unprofitable for them.

“We have also been having confrontation with smugglers especially in the volatile areas like Ogun and Idiroko axis, where smuggling is considered a legitimate business. However, such confrontation will never deter our operatives from carrying out their statutory responsibility. Smugglers must desist from engaging in smuggling activities,” he added.