FOU talks tough on 64 vehicles seizure
.Says owners to forfeit cars after 30 days
By Udeme Clement
Four days after the Federal Operations Unit , FOU, Zone A, of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, seized 64 assorted vehicles smuggled into the country without appropriate Customs papers, the Unit is still talking tough, saying that the owners must be ready to forfeit the exotic cars to Federal Government after 30 days.
The Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, made this known, stressed that after a period of 30 days, if no person comes to claim ownership, that the seized vehicles will become government’s properties, in accordance with the law.
According to him, since the 64 vehicles, mostly brand new, found at a private place in Omole area of Lagos were seized, no individual has come to claim ownership. This, he said, implies that the vehicles do not have appropriate Customs papers.
He emphasized , “We are here to implement government’s policies and must continue to do our work. We evacuated those vehicles based on intelligence and as I speak with you now, no individual has come forward to claim ownership of those vehicles. We doubt if they have Customs papers for the vehicles, not to talk of End-User Certificate for the bullet proof cars”.
He pointed out, “57 out of the 64 vehicles seized by our team were kept at Omole estate, Ojodu area and Olayiwole close, Lekki Phase-1. And the seven vehicles were seized while on information patrol along Ijebu Ode expressway and Olorunda area”.
We went on, “The detained vehicles include two Lexus Jeep (bullet proof), one Toyota land cruiser (bullet proof), nine Toyota Hilux, eight Toyota Hiace vehicles, 26 Toyota corolla, nine land cruiser Jeep, five Toyota camry, one land rover, one Nissan sentra, one Pajero jeep, all 2017 models and one Sienna of 2015 model, as well as one lexus RX 350 among others. These 64 assorted vehicles have a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N1.3billion”.
His assertion, “We are working in tandem with the law. So, even if it is airplane that is brought in through the land borders, we will seize it because importation of such item through land borders is banned. The same thing goes for rice. Rice importation through the land borders is banned. Smuggling is dangerous to our local industries and the entire economy. Therefore, we will not hesitate to seize contraband items, arrest and prosecute smugglers to protect our economy. The five suspects arrested in connection with some seizures will be prosecuted accordingly”.
During the inspection, Financial Business & Maritime News learnt that other items seized by FOU in just one month include 13,333 bags of foreign rice equivalent to 22 trailers, 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. 17 by 20ft containers loaded with wood were also seized and are under detention on suspicion that they have not met the required guidelines for export. Also, one by 20ft container was seized for carrying 385 cartons of Tiffany crunch cream biscuit, 2,300 cartons of Tiffany chocolate and tofee sweet but falsely declared as engine blocks by the importer”.
Similarly, the Unit in the period under review recovered N108.3million, making cumulative revenue of N1.7billion.
Responding to question about the15 parcels of Cannibis Sativa also seized by the Unit, the CAC said, “In the spirit of inter-agency collaboration we are handing over the seized Indian hemp to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for further investigation”.
His words: “I am using this opportunity to thank the Comptroller General of Customs, CGC, Hameed Ali and his entire management team for providing us with necessary logistics that brought about this feat. We will continue to carry out our statutory duties effectively.”