Customs in Owerri Zone ‘C’ records N543.18m seizures
.Intercepts 330 cartons of pharmaceutical products, arrests 30 suspects
By Udeme Clement
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ Owerri, of Nigeria Customs Service has recorded 41 seizures of contraband items estimated at the monetary value of N543.18 million in the last two months.
Financial Business & Maritime News learnt that about 20 seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N314.67 million were made in September, even as underpayment of N33.81 million was recovered in the same month under review.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, Comptroller Bukar Amajam, made this disclosure at a press briefing in Owerri, explained that 21 seizures were made in October with DPV of N228.51 million, while underpayment recovery of N23.50 million was also recorded in the same month.
He said that the items seized in September alone include vehicles with DPV of N211.46 million, which were intercepted along Benin axis, 287 bags of 50kg foreign rice with DPV of N8.26 million intercepted in Akwa Ibom and Cross River waterside within Enugu and Benin axis.
According to him, others items seized are 1,306 pieces of empty gas cylinders in 40ft container, intercepted along Benin axis, with DPV of N71.86 million as well as 1,901 cartons of foreign Eva complexion soap worth N17.67 million. 5,733 bags of foreign rice valued at N146.76million,intercepted at Benin MFUM-Eleme- Isiokpo axis. Others include 330 cartons of Tramadol with DPV of N9.05 million intercepted in Benin axix, 8 bags of Indian Hemp and 6 cartons of Tramadol and Rophynol worth N1.18 million intercepted in Enugu, in addition to six vehicles with DPV of N48.49 million intercepted along Benin axis.
Amajam explained that the items had since been deposited at the Customs warehouses in Enugu, Calabar and Benin. He further disclosed that 30 suspects, including drivers and conductors, were arrested in connection with the seizures.
The CAC expressed regret that a number of flourishing companies lost their new and heavy duty trucks to the Customs. This, he said, was because of the criminal indulgence of their drivers who used the vehicles to carry contraband from one part of the country to another. He called on companies to warn their drivers.
He added that a new truck with 10 tyres belonging to one of the prominent manufacturing companies in the country was also impounded by Customs on the road while moving bales of banned second hand clothings to a particular destination.
The CAC appealed to members of the public to always assist his officers with useful information on unpatriotic activities of smugglers for necessary action. He also called on the media to assist the Service in enlightening the public on the need to engage in legitimate business, to enhance economic growth and development of Nigeria.