*The DC of Customs and some of the goods seized…
By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent, Lagos/
LAGOS-. OPERATIVES of the Nigeria Customs Service NCS attached to the Strike Force under the Federal Operation Unit FOU Zone A, Ikeja Lagos have commended themselves for their relentless efforts in checkmating the nauseating activities of smugglers in the country.
The commendation came from the Deputy Comptroller of Customs, DCC Mohammed Sani Yusuf today while, briefing news men on the half year activities of the unit. DC Yusuf said his team has been able to raise the anti-smuggling battle with enhanced 24hour, round the clock patrols leading to seizures of smuggled items. This he said was made possible with the additional new Toyota Hilux vehicles which the Comptroller General of Customs recently gave to them to fight smugglers to a standstill.
According to him, with the relentlessness of the men and the recent boost received from the Comptroller-General, the Unit has been able to seize goods which Duty Paid Value was put at Seven billion, four hundred and thirty two million, five hundred and ninety six thousand, seventy five Naira (₦7,432,596,075) adding that 4 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.
He said, “Our operational capacity received a big boost with additional new Toyota Hilux vehicles from the Comptroller-General of Customs, which provided support for suppressing smuggling, prevent revenue loss, protects environmental degradation, unlawful wildlife poaching and in all, protect the national economy.
Specifically speaking, importing what we can produce threatens our economy; unlawful felling of trees degrades the environment and promotes deforestation while illegal killing of wildlife creatures and endangered species like pangolin and donkeys for their scales and skins respectively, could lead to these animals extinction. With these and other tasks under our purview, we shall resolute and unrelenting to arrest perpetrators, seize prohibited items from them or their accomplices, and promote lawful trade using the legal instrument of the extant Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP 45LFN.
We made seizures worth a total duty paid value (DPV) of Seven Billion, Four Hundred and Thirty Two Million, Five Hundred and Ninety Six Thousand, Seventy Five Naira (₦7,432,596,075), with Four (4) arrested suspects in connection with some of the seizures during the period under review. Notable among the seized items are: I. seized over 8,000 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each, equivalent of 13 trucks II. 1x40ft container of Tramadol, Sildenafil citrate, 1613 bottles of 100ml Codeine III. 1079 bales of secondhand clothing IV. 3,695 pieces of used tyres V. 966 slabs of Donkey skin VI. 77,760 pairs of new Ladies shoes VII. 5,250 pairs of used shoes RESTRICTED RESTRICTED VIII. 197 logs of wood.
Through our meticulous checks on import documents, we were able to recover the sum of Three Billion, One Hundred and Forty Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Eight Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety Nine Naira (₦3,140,758,599) through issuance of demand notices; this was done sequel to our discoveries of short payment of duties within the period of six (6) months. This amount would have been lost, but for our vigilance and uncompromising disposition in the discharge of our duties. Within the same period in 2021, a total collection of One Billion, Eight Hundred and Eight Million, Three Hundred and Sixteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety One Naira (₦1,808,316,391) was made, which shows an increase of One Billion, Three Hundred and Thirty Two Million, Two Hundred and Forty Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Eight Naira (₦1,332,242,208) representing 73% of revenue increase.
I want to use this opportunity to reiterate that our efforts for the second half of the year is already invigorated, and we shall ensure that smugglers and enemies of our economy have no hiding place within our area of responsibility. May I use this medium to once again, advise all importers, agents, haulage operators and the entire business community operating in the South West to keep themselves abreast with the import and export prohibition lists and guidelines, as ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”
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