Again: Customs FOU seizes N1.1bn items
.Intercepts truck load of Codeine Cough syrup
.Arrests 10 suspects
By Silas Onuoha
The CAC during press briefing:
The dare devil smugglers engaging in illicit business within the axis of Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) would be counting their losses by now, as the Unit intercepted prohibited items with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.1billion, from June13 – July 24, 2018.
The Unit also arrested 10 suspects in connection with 141 seizures. This is coming only six weeks after the same Unit recorded massive seizures of contraband items worth billions of naira smuggled into the country.
Addressing Journalists at the Unit yesterday, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) Comptroller Mohammed Uba, said, “The seized items include 21 exotic vehicles, 9,504 bags of foreign rice (15 trailers), 436 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 333 cartons of frozen poultry products, 287 bales of used clothing, 198 pieces of used tyres, among others.
“Among the detained vehicles are 1 Mercedes benz G-500 (2016), 6 Toyota Hiace Bus (2018), 3 Lexus Jeep GX460 and Lx570 (2017), 1 Toyota Hilux (2017 ), 1 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado,(2016), 1 Toyota Hilux bulletproof (2014), 1 Toyota Corolla (2018), 2 Toyota Camry (2016), 1 Honda Civic (2016), 1 Honda Accord (2016), 1 Dodge Charger (2016), among others. These 21 exotic vehicles have DPV of N484.4million”.
Comptroller Uba pointed out, “Some of these vehicles were intercepted along Ijebu Ode expressway, 10 were evacuated from Oluwalogbon Motors, at 164 Awolowo Way Ikeja, based on credible information. As I speak to you, nobody has come to claim ownership.
“Let me use this opportunity to urge the owners of these vehicles to come forward with valid Customs clearance documents, otherwise, they would be liable to Seizure and subsequent forfeiture to government, in line with the laws of the land.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our action is in-line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (power to search premises), and Section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45 Laws of Federation of Nigeria (power to patrol freely)”.
His assertion, “Remarkably among the seizures was interception of an Iveco Truck with registration number LAM283 LG along Ijebu Ode- Ore road, carrying 498 cartons of CSP Codeine Cough Syrup 100ml, with each carton containing 200 bottles.
“You would recall that the Federal Government banned any importation of cough syrup that contains codeine. The substance is valued at N199.2million, with two suspects already in our custody.
“The drugs and the suspects would be handed over to NAFDAC for further investigation and possible prosecution in a court of competent jurisdiction. The fight against drug abuse, as well as illicit drugs is a collective effort. If all hands are on deck, we would make our nation a drug free society”.
Giving further explanation on how the items were seized, the CAC said, “Also, two containers were seized. A 40ft container with number PCIU922650/8 was seized for carrying 525 bales of second-hand clothing, as against used motorcycles declared in its SGD. Another 40ft container with number PCIU871664/5 was seized for carrying 11 jumbo bales of jeans, 365 cartons of new slippers, 145 cartons of new bags as against adhesive dressing declared in its SGD. These are clear cases of false declaration, tantamount to seizure. We are still investigating this and anyone found culpable would face the full wrath of the law.
. “Following the Presidential directive, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) has directed the evacuation and distribution from our warehouse the following items for onward delivery to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno State by the Nigerian Army Corps of Supply and Transport (NACST); 11,579 bags of foreign parboiled rice 50 kg each, 627 and 485 jerrycans of vegetable oil 25ltrs and 5ltrs respectively, 248 bales and 219 sacks of used clothing, and 33 sacks of used shoes.
“Let me seize this opportunity to express our dismay over the incessant attacks on our officers. Just as the CGC has directed, we would continue to make sure we defend ourselves at all times. We won’t tolerate such excesses from smugglers and their accomplices.
I also wish to advise the public not to allow themselves be used as shield by smugglers, most especially the host communities. No amount of resistance from smugglers and their mob accomplices would deter us from performing our statutory responsibilities in all aspects, especially in anti-smuggling operations within South West zone”.