The Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Monday said it seized 77 trailers of imported rice and other prohibited items valued at N7.1 billion in the first half of 2022.
Disclosing this at a press briefing in Lagos, Controller of the Unit, Hussein Ejibunu, said a total of 103 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seized goods during the review period.
He added that the Unit collected a total of N577. 9 million as revenue derived from underpayments of Customs duty.
Giving a breakdown of the seized items, he said they include 45,928 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50 kilograms each, equivalent to 77 trailer loads, 265,830 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, 2,933 bales of used clothes, and 233 cartons of Tramadol (225miligram, mg, each) and 83 packs of 225mg.
Other items are: “65 units of used vehicles, 14,784 pieces of used tyres, 119 units of used motorcycles, and 3,659.05 kg of Indian hemp.
Controller Ejibunu commended the doggedness of the officers of the Unit, whose diligence to duty he said earned the unit the feat achieved within the review period.
According to him, the successes recorded in the Unit’s anti-smuggling drives are products of sustained vigilante and intelligence deployment within the ports and border corridors just as he warned that the lands borders were re-opened by the government for legitimate trade and not for smuggling.
“On the whole, the entire success of the Unit is premised on the improved logistics supplied by the management of the Service Headquarters, inter-agency collaboration with sister security agencies, esteemed stakeholders, as well as patriotic citizens for providing useful and timely information.
“Goods seized within the first six months of the year are worth a cumulative duty paid value of N7,116,932,050. These seizures were made for contravention of different Customs offences.
“A total of 103 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seized goods.
“Let me use this medium to remind the business community that although some of the land borders were reopened; it is worthy of note to be reminded and to know that they were reopened for legitimate businesses.
“Importers, agents and the general public are enjoined to be acquainted with the Federal Government fiscal policies, Customs extant regulations as well as the import and export prohibition lists for proper guidance.
“The sum of N577,853,457.96 was collected as revenue derived from underpayments. We shall continue to facilitate legitimate and compliant traders to grow our local economy, while we sustain deliberate efforts aimed at frustrating recalcitrant traders; as seen in the volume of seizures displayed,” he said.