It was gathered that the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone C, Owerri says it has recorded a total of 231 seizures of contraband goods with an Overall Duty Paid Value of N1.9bn in the third quarter of the year 2016.
This is in contrast to the 379 seizures with a DPV of over N2bn impounded in 2015.
The Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Mr. Haruna Mamudu, disclosed this through the Public Relations Officer, Onuigbo Ifeoma, while briefing newsmen on the performance of officers and men of the unit in the third quarter of the year.
Mamudu said the underpayment of N548.7m recovered in 2016 amounted to an increase in the percentage of revenue generated by the NCS in contrast to that of N105.2m underpayment recovered in the year 2015.
According to Haruna, 22 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures, which were impounded on the Benin axis, Asaba-Agbor-Onitsha expressway, Calabar, Enugu, Owerri and Port-Harcourt axis of the South-South and South-East zones of the federation.
He added that 16 cases were pending in court, stressing that the feat was successfully accomplished as a result of the renewed determination of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd.) to rid the country of all forms of illegal importation.
The Customs Area Controller enumerated the items impounded as 121 vehicles; 3,082 bags of 50kg rice; 1,454 cartons /set of furniture; 5,120 pieces of used foreign tyres; 625 cartons of fake medicaments and 2,600 pieces of imported school bags.
Also seized were 63 containers of log of wood; 97 pieces of 14 -stroke engine generator; 30,181 cartons imported frozen poultry products; 1,148 bales of secondhand clothing as well as 2, 331 cartons of foreign detergents and creams.
The rest of the items were 1,339 pairs of foot wears; 142 pieces of used refrigerators and compressors, 155 cartons of plastic and articles of plastics; 129 cartons of ceramics in addition to 803 bags of scrap metals.
Haruna, who expressed concern at the continued indulgence of some Nigerians in the nefarious act of smuggling, said that the NCS would remain resolute and undeterred in its efforts to stamp out the scourge in the country.
He further stressed that the NCS was always well equipped, mobilized and motivated to dislodge smugglers, their collaborators and agents wherever they hibernated.
Haruna therefore warned all diehard smugglers who were trapped in the illegal business to purge themselves of the illicit act before the long arm of the law catches up with them.