January 29, 2023

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Customs FOU Zone ‘C’ intercepts six containers of unprocessed timber, arrests two

Controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal (middle) flanked by Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘C’, Ag. Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Kayode Olusemire (left) and other senior officers of the unit while addressing newsmen on the seizure of unprocessed timber intercepted by the unit in Port Harcourt on Monday.

The Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted three trucks conveying six 20 feet containers of logs of unprocessed timber.

The Zonal Coordinator of Zone ‘C’, Ag. ACG Kayode Olusemire while displaying the intercepted items at the zonal headquarters in Port Harcourt on Monday said two suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure.

Kayode who noted that the exportation of unprocessed timber contravenes schedule 6 of the Extant Common External Tariff (CET) added that deforestation comes with negative effects such as desert encroachment and environmental degradation.

He added that when tree felling is not checkmated, the ecosystem and its biodiversity are left to suffer.

The Customs boss decried the economic loss brought upon Nigeria with the exportation of unprocessed logs adding that employment creation which results from local processing of the logs is vital for Nigeria’s teeming youth.

He commended the Controller of the FOU Zone ‘C’, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal and officers of the Unit for their resilience, doggedness and steadfastness in tackling smuggling and cautioned against senseless attacks on operatives while carrying out their legitimate duties.

“On July 16, 2021 at about 2.00pm, one of the surveillance teams of FOU Zone ‘C’, acting on credible intelligence trailed and intercepted three trucks conveying 6×20ft containers of logs of rough timber along industrial road, Port- Harcourt.

“We also arrested two suspected smugglers who were attempting to export the unprocessed logs but they have been released on administrative bail.

“Exportation of rough timber which contravenes schedule 6 of the extant CET comes with negative economic and environmental effects and must not be condoned”, he said.

Also speaking, Controller of the unit, Comptroller Lawal said that the logs were about to be smuggled out of the country without clearance from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

He gave the marks and numbers of the containers to include MSCU-3470637, MSDU-1497355, MEDU-9739916, MEDU-5627573, MSDU-6248794 and MEDU-6792783.

His words: “NEPC is an agency of Government which takes note of products that are meant for exportation so that the proceeds can be repatriated accordingly.

“Unfortunately, NEPC is not aware of these logs and have not issued any Nigeria Export Proceeds form, further confirming therefore, that the logs were about to be smuggled out “, he said.

He urged Nigerians to assist the Service with relevant information to aid its activities for the general good of the country.