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Customs intercepts N4.6bn contraband, 17 trucks of smuggled rice in Lagos, Ogun in January.


Abiola Seun

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday said it intercepted 17 trucks load of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country from neighbouring countries.

Speaking yesterday at a press briefing, the Acting Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the unit, AG Compt. Hussein Ejibunu said 9,697  bags of 50kg rice; 3,173 cartons of basmati rice at 5kg each and 297 bags (25kg) foreign  parboiled rice were intercepted within five weeks.

Ejibunu, who said the unit intercepted seizures worth N4.6billion in January 2022 alone, stated that the unit recovered N192million from under declaration of cargoes by clearing agents at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island seaports.

He said, “the Federal Operations Unit Zone A of Nigeria Customs Service has continued its vigorous anti-smuggling exploits in January 2022 with seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N4.6 billion and recovered N192million as revenue within 5 weeks.

Ejibunu, who further disclosed that 23 suspected smugglers were arrested, said the unit’s anti smuggling and revenue recovery activities will increase this year due to the support and logistics upgrade it received from the service management.

The Acting Comptroller, however, gave the breakdown of the seizures, to include 1,076 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 68  sacks of  used  cloth; 2,535  pieces used  tyres; 17  units of  used  vehicles and 206  used  compressors.

Others are 1,076  kegs at  25litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 195  bales  of used clothes; 51  parcels  (39.5KG)  Indian  hemp; 7,557,400 tablets of 225mg  Tramadol; 7  units used  motorcycles; 21  bales  of  new  bed  sheet and 57  units of used  plasma TV.

He said, “While  many  travelled  to  enjoy  the  yuletide  season,  our operatives  were  out  there  in  the  field  to  prevent  illicit  items  from  being  smuggled into  the  country.

“From  23rd  December,  2021  till  date,  a  lot  more  have  been  seized thereby  setting  the  stage  for today’s press briefing.

“Despite  the  ups  and downs,  the  Unit  waxed  on  positively  in  the  fight  against  smuggling  as  witnessed by  you  all.  It  is  only  regrettable  that  we  lost  four  gallant  officers  in  the  line  of  duty that  same  year.

“If  there  is  anything  the  Unit  will  not  condone,  it  is  to  lose  any  of our  officers  to  smugglers  this  year.  New  approach  and  tactics  strictly  to  our  chest will  be  deployed  this  time  around.  Smugglers  are  by  this  warned  to  stay  away from  smuggling.

“Our  zeal  to  perform even  better  this  year  is  predicated  on  the untiring  support  we get  from  the  CGC  –  Col.  Hameed  Ibrahim  Ali  (Rtd)  –  and  his  Management  by  way of  welfare,  capacity  building,  insurance  scheme  and  provision  of  logistics.

“We  are equally  well  equipped  with  relevant  Sections  of  Customs  and  Excise  Management Act  CAP  C45  LFN  2004  as  amended  to  perform  our  legitimate  duties  without  fear or  favour.

“Some  of  such  provisions  are;  Section  158  which gives us  power  to  patrol  freely; Section  11  –  power  to  arrest  and  prosecute  anyone  seen  to  obstruct  officers  from performing  their  duties; Section  46  –  Power  to  seize;  Section  147  –  Power  to enter any  premises without  search  warrant  and  many  more.”

The Controller called on members of the public to always support the NCS with credible intelligence that would lead to arrest of smugglers and prevention of prohibited goods from entering the country.

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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