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Smugglers of timber, charcoal lose N7bn to Customs in Lagos


Abiola Seun 

The  Comptroller-General of Customs task force on  wednesday said it intercepted 61 containers of timber woods with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N7billion on the verge of being smuggled out of the country to the middle East.

Speaking to journalists yesterday, the coordinator, Comptroller General of Customs, Strike Force, Deputy Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu said also seized were 36 containers of charcoal worth N382million.

According to Shuaibu, the Federal government has placed restriction on exportation of woods and its derivatives since 2019 but, unscrupulous and selfish businessmen still try to smuggle it out of the country.

Shuaibu further disclosed that the unit also seized 185 sacks of donkey hides and skins worth N61million as well as batteries falsely declared as machineries.

He said, “We have here as part of the seizures, 61 containers of wood with DPV of N7billion. Also seized are 36 containers of charcoal with DPV N382million, 1,110 pieces of raw hides and skins in 185 sacks with a DPV of N61million and a 1×20 ft container of batteries with DPV of N19million.

“Among the seizures we are showing you today is also 4x40ft containers of second hand clothing with DPV of N567million and one 1x20ft container of tomato paste in 1,912 cartons, worth N10million.”

DC Shuaibu, however, disclosed that the falsely declared cargoes and contraband intercepted between October and November had a DPV of N8billion.

The Customs Chief, who also explained that seven suspects were arrested in connection with the 103 seized items, further stated that the unit will continue to justify the confidence reposed in them by the Comptroller-General of the service.

“As we have highlighted in recent media briefings, most of the seizures were in contravention of federal government’s policies on export prohibition while some were contrary to import guidelines.

“Some also were direct attempt at evading payment of duty to government. Our operatives will not look the other way for these forms of illegal activities to thrive.

“So far, seven suspects were arrested in connection with some of these seizures and they have been granted bail.

“We are not unaware of smugglers desperation to carry out their illegal activities at all time, especially when yuletide approaches, but they should be aware that no matter how smart they rate themselves, the strike force team A will always be steps ahead of them.”

“We will always uncover their antics, seize their wares and arrest them for prosecution but, we advise them in their own interest to desist from these unlawful activities and embrace only legitimate trade.

“The more they violate the laws, the more they have us to contend with and we will continue to justify the confidence reposed in us by the Comptroller-General of Customs who has given us this task of protecting the economic life of our country and well being of the people,” he said.

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