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Customs intercepts N7bn smuggled rice, Tramadol from Benin Republic 

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Abiola Seun The Comptroller General of Customs, Strike Force, Zone A, of the NIgeria Customs Service (NCS), on Wednesday, said it intercepted N7billion worth of contraband smuggled into the country from neighboring countries between January to June 2022.Speaking to journalists, the Coordinator, Strike Force Unit, DC Mohammed Yusuf, said four suspects were arrested in connection with the smuggled items.The seized items were, 8,000 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 5Okg each, equivalent to 13 trucks; 1x40ft container of Tramadol; Sildenafil citrate; 1613 bottles of 100ml Codeine III; 1079 bales of secondhand clothing; 3,695 pieces of used tyres.Others are, 966 slabs of Donkey skin; 77,760 pairs of new Ladies shoes; 5,250 pairs of used shoes; and 197 logs of wood.  Yusuf, explained that, his team has suppressed smuggling, prevent revenue loss, protects environmental degradation, unlawful poaching of wildlife poaching, protect the national economy and improving importers’ compliance.He said, “Our operational capacity received a big boost with additional new Toyota Hilux vehicles from the Comptroller-General of Customs, which provided support for suppressing smuggling, prevent revenue loss, protects environmental degradation, unlawful wildlife poaching and in all, protect the national economy.”“Specifically speaking, importing what we can produce threatens our economy, unlawful felling of trees degrades the environment and promotes deforestation while illegal killing of wildlife creatures and endangered species like pangolin and donkeys for their scales and skins respectively, could lead to these animals extinction. “With these and other tasks under our purview, we made seizures worth a total duty paid value (DPV) N7.4billion with Four arrested suspects in connection with some of the seizures during the period under review.”“Notable among the seized items are, 8,000 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 5Okg each, equivalent of 13 trucks; 1x40ft container of Tramadol; Sildenafil citrate; 1613 bottles of 100ml Codeine III; 1079 bales of secondhand clothing; 3,695 pieces of used tyres.“966 slabs of Donkey skin; 77,760 pairs of new Ladies shoes; 5,250 pairs of used shoes; and 197 logs of wood.”“Through our meticulous checks on import documents, we were able to recover the sum of N3.14billion through issuance of Demand Notices (DN). This was done sequel to our discoveries of short payment of duties within the period of six months.”“This amount would have been lost, but for our vigilance and uncompromising disposition in the discharge of our duties. Within the same period in 2021, a total collection of N1.81billion was made which showed an increase of N1.33billion representing 73% of revenue increase.”“I want to use this opportunity to reiterate that our efforts for the second half of the year is already invigorated, and we shall ensure that smugglers and enemies of our economy have no hiding place within our area of responsibility.”“May I use this medium to once again, advise all importers, agents, haulage operators and the entire business community operating in the South-West to keep themselves abreast with the import and export prohibition lists and guidelines, as ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”

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