Massive seizures: FOU converts training college, highway for contraband items
.Intercepts 64 vehicles, N1.59bn items
. Arrests 5 suspects
By Udeme Clement & Silas Onuoha
The Federal Operations Unit , FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, was the beehive of activities in the whole Lagos, yesterday, as the Unit recorded massive seizures of 64 vehicles, mostly exotic cars, 13,333 bags of foreign rice equivalent to 22 trailers and various prohibited items estimated at the Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N1.59billion (approximately N1.6billion).
Infact, the large warehouse of FOU was filled with seizures, to the extent that many of the seized items were packed at the Customs Training College and the major road leading to the College beside the Command.
Financial Business & Maritime News observed that, aside from seizures displayed in the warehouse, the entire workshop of the Command was used for contraband items, even as seized items were seen at every corner of FOU. For instance, long trucks, empty vehicles and all workshop compartments were not left out, as they were all used for seized items.
During the inspection, Financial Business & Maritime News also observed that the main office of FOU was used for seizures of brand new cars, even as over 10 trucks were seen along the road leading to Customs Training College, all filled with seizures.
Some of the seized items include 1, 390 cartons of frozen products, 835 gallons of vegetable oil, 15 parcels of Cannibis Sativa (commonly known as Indian Hemp), 1, 101 pieces of used tyres and 205 bales of second-hand clothings, among many others.
The Unit swiftly arrested five suspects in connection with some of the seizures and paraded them before Journalists at their office.
Addressing Journalists at the Command yesterday, the Customs Area Controller, CAC, of FOU, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, disclosed that 57 out of the 64 vehicles intercepted by his Command were found along Omole estate, within Ojodu axis and Olayiwole close, Lekki Phase-1. The other seven vehicles, he explained were seized while on operational patrol along Ijebu Ode expressway and Olorunda area.
He pointed out, “We evacuated the items based on intelligence. As I speak with you now, no body has come forward to claim ownership of these vehicles. We doubt if they have Customs papers for the vehicles, not to talk of End-User Certificate for the bullet proof car.”
Comptroller Uba who expressed displeasure about activities of smugglers said, “Our duty is to implement government’s policies and we must work hard to protect our economy from saboteurs.”
He stressed, “Smuggling is dangerous to our local industries and the economy at large. Therefore, we shall not hesitate to seize contraband items, arrest and prosecute smugglers”.
Comptroller Uba’s tenacity in anti-smuggling war was seen in the manner he addressed the press, standing in the scourging Sun for over four hours, moving from one corner of the warehouse to another tirelessly.