As the yuletide season approaches, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intensified its war against smuggling as it seized goods worth N671million in October 2022.
Addressing journalists in Lagos on Wednesday, Acting Controller of the Unit, Hussein Ejibunu said the goods were seized along the borders and port corridors within the South West Zone.
He said unit also recovered N42.3 million from under-declaration of goods imported into the country in the period under review adding that, ” This amount would have been lost to individuals, if not for the diligent and meticulous documentary checks by officers of this Unit.”
The Customs boss added that 11 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure and are at various stages of investigation.
The items seized include 7,403 bags of 50kg of foreign parboiled rice; 53,759 litres of petroleum motor spirit; 121 cartons of frozen poultry product; 724 bales of used second hand clothings; and 3 units of used motorcycles.
The Unit also seized 97 pieces of used tyres; 162 (96kg) parcels of Indian Hemp; 11 kegs of 25 litres of vegetable oil; 13 units of used fridges, and 3,116 pieces of cutlass.
Others items include 700 rolls of cigarettes; 23 cartons of dates; 9 units of vehicles and 2 1/40 containers of charcoal.
Speaking, Ejibunu said, “Having understood the unrepentant nature of some economic saboteurs’ increased desperation to smuggle and their quest to acquire wealth ahead of the festive period, this Unit had remained resolute in enforcing compliance with the federal government fiscal policies, Customs and Excise laws.
“While doing this, we have evolved better strategies of being ahead of them; not only to seize their wares, but to get them arrested and prosecuted.
“Smuggling in whatever guise or form, is an illegal activity that constitutes a crime against Customs extant laws.
“Primarily among other effects; smuggling compromises national security, robs the nation of her revenue, which consequently affects the provision of basic amenities and social services to the citizens, and it can also destroy your health through the importation of expired, fake, and other illicit drugs.”
The achievements recorded by the unit according to Ejibunu was possible with the enabling powers of sections: 158 (power to patrol freely), sections 160 – 163 (failure to pay duty on demand, untrue declarations, counterfeiting documents, false scales, etc) of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as amended.
Ejibunu appealed to the trading community to be patriotic by making sincere declarations, and paying the maximum duties/levies payable to the federal government just as he warned that, “anyone found culpable of the aforementioned would lead to economic loss and prosecution as prescribed by the extant laws.’