Customs at FOU generates N8.6bn revenue in 2018
.Arrests 107 suspects for illicit business
.Gets commendations from CGC Ali, Minister
By Silas Onuoha
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ having strengthened its anti-smuggling operations intercepted various contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N8.2billion from January-June 2018.
Similarly, the Unit through its interventions recovered N405.2million from duty payments and demand notices on vehicles and general goods that tried to cut corners from seaports, airport, border stations through wrong classification, transfer of value and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the coffers of Federal Government, making a cumulative of N8.6bilion for the period under review.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, disclosed this through the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Jerry Attah.
According to him, “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; bullet proof), 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 among various items”.
His assertion, “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 for necessary recommendations to the headquarters.
“The Minister commended FOU Zone ‘A’ for that great seizure. The UN delegates also promised their support to provide necessary training towards combating illicit trade on endangered species, so that such harmless animals don’t go into extinction. The seized pangolin and elephant tusks are valued at N2.7billion with two Chinese arrested in connection with the items.
“In order to ensure full implementation of government policy banning importation of rice through land borders, we re-strategized our operational modalities and beam our searchlight at the Creeks and Waterways at various locations in the Southwest zone and hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the months under review. We will continue to make sure smugglers within our areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging our economy”.
Comptroller Mohammed reiterated that though smuggling is a global phenomenon that cannot be eradicated entirely, all hands should be on deck so that it could be reduced to its barest minimum. He commended the officers/men who put their lives on the line making these seizures; most especially over 58 trailers load of rice, knowing that it’s a big battle at the creeks. He equally commended their resilience and doggedness that brought about this feat.
The CAC said that this feat couldn’t have been possible without logistics support of CGC Hameed Ali and the entire management, as well as the media for its partnership in sensitising the public on the evil of smuggling to the nation’s economy.
He further thanked other sister agencies that are always on ground to give necessary operational support, most especially the Nigeria Army, Police, DSS among others, and looks 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 diligent in performing their statutory responsibilities; most especially in the area of anti-smuggling operations by making sure all revenue leakages are blocked and encouraged them to keep thwarting the antics of smugglers who used different methods for smuggling.