The anti smuggling unit of the Nigeria Customs Service in Zone ‘A’, Lagos- the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) has arrested a two-man syndicate that specialises in forging Customs clearance documents to clear vehicles in Ogun State.
Addressing a press conference at the unit’s headquarters on Tuesday in Lagos where the suspects were paraded, Acting Controller of the unit, Hussein Ejibunu, said the arrest of the syndicate was made following the arrest of one of the suspects, Shuiabu Kolo with a 2007 Mercedes Benz along Ajilete-Idiroko road, Ogun State.
Ejibunu said the arrest of Kolo and further investigation led to the unravelling of over 600 pictures of vehicles domiciled in Benin Republic awaiting to undergo forged clearing process by the same criminal syndicate.
He said fake Customs valuation stamp, fake Customs duty chart book on vehicles, fake Customs documents and vehicle registration documents, 4 computer monitors, 3 computer processing units, 1 keyboard and 1 printer were recovered from the suspects in the course of arrest and investigation.
Ejibunu said the unit also arrested a suspect who uses charm to attack customs personnel at Owoyele Igbogila road of Ogun State.
“Sadly in our resolve to safeguard the national economy and prevent revenue loss, officers on legitimate duties are ambushed and attacked by suspected smugglers and their sympathizers; using guns, machetes, charms and other dangerous items; the most recent incident of these kind of assaults on officers is the one arrested using charms to attack personnel at Owoyele Igbogila road of Ogun State. While I discourage and call for their repentance, any act of recalcitrance would call for the full wrath of the law on any one found culpable,” he warned.
Ejibunu said the unit also seized various goods valued at N501million for non compliance with extant Customs law in the month of February.
Notable among the wares seized are 5,328 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice, equivalent to 9 trailer loads,1/40 foot container said to contain 512 cartons of generators on detention for false declaration, 1/40 foot container said to contain 2,298 cartons of half gasoline engines on detention for false declaration.
Others are 29,875 liters of premium motor spirit (PMS), 283 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products, 75 kilograms of cannabis sativa, 5 units of foreign-used vehicles and 1/40 foot container said to contain charcoal meant for export.
He said 18 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the offenses within the review period and are at different stages of investigation and prosecution.
He added that the sum of N103.6million was collected following the issuance of demand notices to defaulters for wrong classification, under valuation and under payment within the review period.
The Customs boss who described smuggling as an unpatriotic act with very significant negative impact on the nation’s economy including loss of revenue, distortion of market prices, and collapse of local industries enjoined all patriotic citizens to join the fight against economic sabotage.
He assured that the unit will continue to encourage compliant traders by facilitating their legitimate businesses as enshrined in the extant laws.
He, however, warned recalcitrant traders to desist from violating the extant regulations or be ready to face the full wrath of the law.