The Comptroller General of Customs Strike Force, Zone ‘A’ said it has intercepted a pump action rifle, locally fabricated pistol and 14 live cartridges among other smuggled items worth N390,198 million.
Disclosing this at a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday, Coordinator of the unit, Muhammed Sani Yusuf, said the unit also recovered N748.6 million through documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on consignments that were found to have been short-paid.
Yusuf listed some of the seized items to include 1500 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50 kilograms each, 839 bales of used clothes, 3,525 litres of Premium Motor Spirit and 900 bags of cement used to conceal rice.
Others, according to him, are 1,670 Mumrite tomato paste, 500 Mumrite sardines and smuggled vehicles.
Speaking, he said, “In continuation to suppress smuggling and to prevent revenue loss within the Southwest region, officers and men of the Strike Force Team ‘A’ have remained resolute in enforcing Customs extant laws. In the course of enforcing these laws, recalcitrant importers and traders were either made to pay the maximum duty payable, through the issuance of demand notices or made to forfeit their goods to the Federal Government by way of seizing them.
“You may recall that foreign tomato paste, used clothing, importation of vehicles through the land borders, used tyres, arms and ammunition without end-user certificates among others, are all import prohibitions which threaten our collective economy.
“Illicit goods imported into the country with their attendant effects mostly end up either in our homes or in the neighborhood; causing a wide range of issues ranging from social to a psychological crisis.
“Our efforts at ensuring that the local industries are protected from unhealthy foreign competition and other forms of social security require a strong partnership between our operatives and members of the public in areas of information sharing and moral support.
“In the aspect of revenue, the sum of Seven Hundred and Fourty-eight Million, Six Hundred and Seventy-nine Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Naira (N748,679,337) was made thorough documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on consignments that were found to have been short-paid.
“It is sad to note that some Nigerians would pay all duties and levies payable to the Customs authorities of other countries they import from, while on the other hand, they make conscious efforts to evade such payments into the federal coffers.
“As we are in the last quarter of the year; approaching the yuletide period, where recalcitrant traders and importers quest to make more profits through smuggling is at its peak. I would use this opportunity to appeal to importers and agents to be patriotic by making sincere declarations, and pay their duties accurately.
“Let me use this medium to warn non compliant traders to desist from such; because we have strategically mobilized, and deployed our personnel to do the needful.
“I wish to reiterate at this point that unpatriotic importers/agents culpable shall be dealt with in accordance with the dictates of the law.”