Shocking : Customs FOU Zone ‘A’ seizes COVID-19 essential duty vehicle with smuggled poultry products
…Intercepts N12.7bn smuggled vehicles, rice, others
By Silas Onuoha :
It was indeed shocking, as the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) intercepted a vehicle with Covid-19 sticker ought to be used for essential duty, loaded with smuggled frozen chicken into the country.
Vigilant officers of FOU intercepted the vehicle under the guise of essential duty smuggling cartons of frozen chicken into the country from Benin Republic.
The Public Relations Officer of the Unit, Mr Jerry Attah, made this known, even as the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Usman Yahaya, displayed seized items in the open.
That was not all.
The Unit also intercepted various contraband items worth N12.7billion, from January to April 2020.
Recall that FOU Zone ‘A’ is an anti-smuggling arm of the Service, saddled with the responsibility of suppressing smuggling in six States of the South-West region.
Mr Attah, who quoted the CAC said the vehicle was intercepted along Ijebu-ode expressway with the smuggled items.
He also disclosed that the items were intercepted based on intelligence, as the eagle-eyes of FOU officers caught the prohibited items while on routine anti-smuggling patrol.
The CAC said, “the officers were professional enough to intercept the vehicle, which was believed to be used in movement of essential commodities but was surprise to see that it was used for illegal activity,, such as movement of contraband.
“We have arrested the vehicle and investigation has commenced to get to the root and unravel other atrocities that may have been committed using the ensential duty tag.”
However, speaking on the activities of the Command in the last four months, the CAC said contraband worth N12.7 billion were intercepted from smugglers between January and April 2020.
According to him, the unit also paid a whopping N1.14 billion into the Treasury Single Account of the federal government from Debit Note (DN) on intercepted containers from Lagos seaport, voluntary payment of Customs duty on vehicles, auction sales from PMS among others.
More so, giving a break down of the seizures, he said, “25 units of fairly used vehicles worth N108million, 5,644 cartons of frozen chicken worth N54.1million were intercepted, 9,843 bags of 50kg smuggled parboiled rice worth N130.4 million and sacks of textile materials worth N94million were seized in the month under review.
“Others include, N14million worth of used tyre, 3,764 kegs of smuggled vegetables oil worth N69.2 million, 8,365 litres of smuggled petrol also known as (PMS) and AGO also known as Diesel worth N35million.”
The Customs Boss added, “We won’t relent on our anti-smuggling fight, especially at this time the government is preaching diversification into agric sector, due to the fall in price of oil at the international market, which has affected government revenue.
“So, we must ensure that smuggling is tackled within our area of coverage, to promote the well-being of our people and the economy at large”.