It was gathered that the Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday buried 650 cartons of frozen chicken and turkey imports valued at N4 million smuggled into Nigeria from Cotonou, the Republic of Benin.
Shortly after the destruction of the poultry products at the command’s headquarters in Seme, a border town with the Benin Republic, the comptroller in charge of the command, Ndalati Garba Mohammed, said that as part of his command’s efforts to suppress smuggling, his men over the weekend made the seizure of prohibited frozen poultry products from die-hard smugglers who have kept to the illegitimate business.
The comptroller said he had directed increased enforcement at the border area including various footpaths to forestall attempts by desperate smugglers to evade duty and bring in prohibited items through unapproved routes.
He said, “Full compliance with this directive had resulted to various seizures and arrests in the past, including this recent one comprising frozen turkey and chicken which falls under import prohibition.
“While some of the suspected smugglers escaped into the bush at night during the operation, our operatives arrested one of them and also seized a vehicle being used as a means of conveyance of the prohibited items.
“Today, we are destroying these poultry products in compliance with government directives and wish to use this opportunity to warn smugglers to desist from the anti economic vice and face lawful trades.”
According to hime, the command has commenced investigations to arrest those behind this smuggling act and get them to face the full wrath of the law.
“We are also on the lookout for any individual or group of persons that will dare our resolve by attempting to smuggle through Seme Border or any area within our coverage.
“We will never relent in arresting and prosecuting them in line with our enabling law,” he said.
The seizures were made by Patrol teams co-ordinated by Deputy Comptroller in charge of Enforcement Section Abdullahi Mohammed.
The command is still deploying persuasion and enforcement side by side as the CAC has kept the tempo of Customs Community Relations high in his attempt to dissuade members of the host and border business communities from smuggling while encouraging importers of dutiable goods to always pay duty.
The Seme Controller said this persuasion strategy was paying off as the command’s duty collection was appreciating as more people were complying, with his men often assisted agents and importers through proper enlightenment.