The Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service, saddled with the statutory function of curbing smuggling activities in the zone disclosed that with the wealth of it’s intelligent officers, has seized various contraband with a duty paid value (DPV) of N8,619,703,982.00 between January to June 2018.
According to the release made available by the unit image maker, Jerry Attah N405,217.909.00 of the N8.6b was recovered from duty payments and demands notice on vehicles and general goods that tried to cut corners from seaports, airport and boarder stations through wrong classification, transfer of value and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for Federal government coffers.
The statement which quoted the Controller of the Unit, Mohammed Uba, “In the months under review, 107 suspects were arrested in connection to 596 different seizures comprising 34,652 foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 58 trailers); 167 units of exotic vehicles (Toyota Prado/Lexus; bulletproof), Toyota C-HR , Toyota Camry LE, Toyota Prado(s), Toyota Hilux, Ford F150, Pajero Jeeps, Mercedes Benz ranging from 2015-2018 models respectively); 8,987 cartons frozen poultry products, 4,586 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 3,463 cartons of different pharmaceutical/medicaments, 370 parcels/98 sacks of Indian hemp weighing 1,350kg, and various general merchandise.
“Remarkably among the seizures within this period, was the interception of 460 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 12, 264 kg and 218 elephant tusks, making it the highest seizure of such endangered species in the history of Federal Operations Unit Zone A.
“This seizure among others brought a lot of accolades to us from the Comptroller-General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and his management team. To crown it all was the visit by the Minister of State for Environment; Mallam Ibrahim Usman accompanied by the United Nations charter on CITES delegates led by Mr Juan Carlos who is the Chief Legal Affairs, CITES Headquarters in Geneva, to inspect the seized items and make necessary recommendation to its headquarters. The Minister commended the FOU A for that great seizure. The UN delegates also promised their support to provide necessary training towards combatting such illicit trade on endangered species, so that such harmless animals don’t go into extinction. The seized pangolin and elephant tusk alone is valued at N2,739,191,400.00, with two Chinese nationals as suspects.
“In order to ensure full implementation of the Government policy banning the importation of rice through land borders, we re-strategize our operational modalities and beamed our searchlight at the Creeks, Waterside, and at various locations in the southwest zone of the country. We will continue to make sure smugglers within our areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging our economy.”
The Comptroller added that this feat couldn’t have been possible without the logistics support of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and the entire management, as well as the media for sensitizing and educating the general public on the evil of smuggling to the nation’s economy. He further thanked sister agencies that are always on ground to give the Customs the necessary operational support, most notably the Nigeria Army, Police, DSS among others and look forward to sustaining such relationship that will yield better performance in the remaining half of the year.
He further charged his officers/men to be professional and diligent in performing their statutory responsibilities; most especially in the area of anti-smuggling operations by making sure all revenue linkages are blocked and encouraged them to keep thwarting the antics of those daredevil smugglers who used different methods for smuggling.