Rain of seizures: FOU intercepts 4 bullet proof cars in Ikoyi, N1.3bn items
.Arrests 6 suspects
By Udeme Clement
It was a mind boggling assignment, the press briefing by Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), as the Unit intercepted, 59 assorted vehicles, four bullet proof cars in a house at Ikoyi and various prohibited items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N1.3billion wihin just three weeks. The Unit swiftly arrested six suspects in connection with the seizures.
The bullet proof vehicles, which require End-User Certificates from office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) for importation into the country are still in detention. The Unit disclosed that those vehicles alone have a DPV of over N1.7billion, that further investigation will reveal those behind the clearance of such vehicles, and they must face the wrath of the law.
Financial Business & Maritime News during the assignment observed that the entire warehouse of FOU and a large open space used as workshop was filled with seizzures of different categories. Even newsmen from both print and electronic media were astonished at the massive seizures recorded by the Unit from October 4th to 31st, 2017.
The seizures include 6,206 bags of rice, which is equivalent to 10trailers load, 67 bales of secondhand clothings, 600cartons of foreign poultry products, 13 parcels of Cannabis Sativa, 405 used tyres and 54 gallons of vegetable oil, among many others.
Speaking at the scene of inspection, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, who expressed displeasure at the nefarious activities of smugglers, said, the zone is battle-ready for economic saboteurs working against government’s effort in growing local industries.
His assertion: “Based on intelligence, our operatives trailed and evacuated 59 vehicles from car marts in Ikoyi, among which over 40 are 2017 models and four are bullet proof cars. These include Toyota Prado Jeep, Lexus Jeep, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Camry, Coaster Bus and Toyota Hiace Bus, currently under detention, awaiting relevant Customs documents from the dealers within a grace period of one month.”
“Similarly, the two containers you are alooking at here were seized for contravening Customs law. One of the containers carried used fridges, the other carried 270 cartons of refined sun flower oil, 55pieces of used gas compressors, 18 packs of juice and other assorted items, as against cooking gas declared in the SGD. Another container conveyed 147 bales of printed wax and 168bales of lace materials, as against new electronics declared in the SGD. Consequently, these containers were seized for carrying contraband items because they entered under false declaration, in order to beat the system, contrary to Customs and Excise law section 147.”
The inspection lasted for several hours with the CAC and top officers of FOU moving from one area of the workshop to another tirelessly. Some senior officers who spoke at the side line of the briefing said those engaging in illicit trade must desist or continue to lose their income and risk going to jail, as the CAC would leave no stone unturned in prosecuting unrepentant smugglers.
Responding to questions on massive seizures recorded by FOU in the last few months, the CAC enthused, “CGC Hameed Ali is committed to national development. As such, he is empowering zone ‘A’ and other Commands across the country to curb smuggling in all ramifications. My gratitude goes to Ali and the entire management of the Service for providing necessary logistics that brought about this feat. Let me also use this medium to appreciate the robust synergy existing among the Military, Police as well as other security agencies and our Unit.”