The Headquarters Compliance Team, Ogun Axis, of the Nigeria Customs Service, has intercepted a truck loaded with 1,533 cartons of smuggled generators popularly known as “I better pass my neighbour .’’
The Team Leader, Assistant Comptroller Shittu Almaruf, made the disclosure in a statement yesterday in Lagos. He said that the seizures were made on May 19, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“Similarly, the team in another operation intercepted a bus along the Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode Expressway, laden with 542 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products,’’ according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Almaruf said that his squad was saddled with the responsibility of enforcement of the fiscal policies of the Federal Government with regard to trade, in conjunction with other anti-smuggling arms of the NCS.
He said that after the seizures were made, the truck was taken to the Customs House in Abeokuta, alongside the Mini-bus conveying the frozen poultry products, where 100 per cent examination was conducted.
“The items were subjected to 100 per cent examination to ascertain the quantity of items seized; following which they were converted to seizures in line with Sections 46 & 47 of the Customs Management Act, Cap 45 LFN,’’ Almaruf said.
He said that the team was devising other means of ensuring that the activities of smugglers were curtailed.
Almaruf further said that the team had been taking anti-smuggling campaign to all nooks and crannies of Ogun.
Giving reasons for seizure of the generators, he said that the “Nigeria Customs is merely enforcing a law which emanated from a memo of the Federal Ministry of Environment advising the Government on the health implication.’’
“This ban came into effect on April 28, 2011, and was officially gazetted in May of the same year. You will recall that the Federal Government gazette No 47 Volume 98, stated categorically that the purpose of this regulation is to restore, preserve and improve the quality of air.”
He said that the interception was intended to safe guard the citizens’ right and access to clean air; reduce and prevent air pollution; and improve the health of Nigerians, especially in urban areas with high incidence of air pollution.
“With regard to the seized frozen poultry products, we are not relenting in our efforts to protect the health of Nigerians as well as the huge investments of our local farmers.
“We will continue to frustrate the efforts of the smugglers until they hearken to the voice of reason. These products, apart from the fact that they fall under the import prohibition list, are also very detrimental to human health; hence not good for consumption,’’ Almaruf said.
The team leader commended the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and the management for their support on logistics and provision of the necessary tools of operations.
He said that the Headquarters Compliance Team was endowed with officers and men with the requisite capacity, competence and wherewithal to fight smugglers.
Almaruf said that the team had faced series of hostilities by miscreants and street urchins who pretended to be smugglers.
He said that such pressure would not deter the team from performing its constitutional duty of suppressing smuggling activities to its barest minimum.
Almaruf, however, said that his team, alongside other anti-smuggling arms, would always protect the interest of compliant importers and their representatives, in line with the legitimate trade facilitation policy of the NCS.
He urged Nigerians to support the Compliance team and other Customs formations in the war against smuggling.