The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone, A, has intercepted two Dangote cement trucks loaded with contrabands, including frozen poultry products, bags of rice and vegetable oil. Other items discovered by the NCS included, four containers loaded with second hand clothing, all put at a duty paid value of three hundred and twenty five million, five hundred and thirty thousand, eighty five Naira, N325,0530,85.00 only.
The Controller of the Zone, Comptroller Haruna Mamudu, who disclosed this while briefing journalists at a maiden press briefing in Lagos, said that about 210 different seizures were made between 25th October, when he took over the leadership of the zone in November, 2016. He said, so far, some 77 suspects had been arrested in connection with the seizures. Information revealed that the trucks, which were intercepted at Idiroko and Papalanto in Ogun state, were seized based on information received from good spirited members of the public, saying that, a swift action taken by men of the zone nipped it in the bud.
The seizures were said to also include, smuggled vehicles, various general merchandise and 1,300 parcels of Indian hemp, which had been handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, with three suspects-Itobo Egebe, Munirudeen Ekumopali and Aremu Hameed-for further investigation and prosecution. While commenting on the other successes made by the zone, which was in line with the operational duties of the NCS, Haruna further said that six warehouse in Lagos had been sealed up for contravening the laws.
He said, ” You will recall that since I took over here, we have also intensified our operations at various bonded terminals/warehouses to ensure compliance to the extant laws. To this end, about six warehouses in Lagos that have contravened the laws are under Customs’ seal, pending thorough investigation.” Similarly, the zone also recovered N286,623,853,00 Naira only, from duty payments primarily from vehicles and general goods.
The Comptroller explained that the amount recovered was “from duty payments and demand notices on vehicles and other general goods that tried to beat the system from seaports, airports and border stations in the guise of false declaration, transfer of value, and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the Federal Government, making a cumulative of N611,676,938,00 only.” While calling for more public support in the fight against smuggling, the Controller warned smugglers to desist form their nefarious activities saying that the zone was all out to make their illegal activities unattractive, especially in the Yuletide.
He said, “You will agree with me that smuggling is a global phenomenon, which cannot be curbed entirely, but can be brought to its barest minimum. Let me use this opportunity to praise the commitment and diligence of the officers and men of the FOU A for thwarting the antics of dare devil smugglers. Like Oliver Twist, I believe we have what it takes to do better and therefore I call on all officers and men of the Service and the general public to join us in the fight against smuggling considering the economic diversification effort of the Federal government which is for the good and wellbeing of all Nigerians. “I advise those economic saboteurs who see yuletide season as a peak period for their nefarious acts to desist from such illegal business as the Unit has devised other tactical strategies that will make them run for their monies and count their loses.”
Haruna called on all stakeholders not to be scared, as the Unit would act in their best interest. “For the avoidance of doubt, legitimate traders, importers, agents and warehouse owners are hereby advised not to exercise any fear, as the service action is only about enforcing payments that are legitimately due to the Federal Government; and to facilitate legitimate trade according to international best practices.” He also appealed to the members of the fourth estate of the realm to join the NCS in the advocacy campaign against the negative effects of smuggling to the nation’s economy.