Again: FOU records mind boggling seizures, intercepts 31 exotic cars
.Realises N1.7bn revenue inflow in 2018
.Arrests 10 suspects
By Udeme Clement
It was another rain of seizures at the Federal Operations Unit ,FOU, Zone ‘A’, of Nigeria Customs Service ,NCS, yesterday, and the dare-devil Smugglers operating within FOU’s domain must be counting their losses by now, as FOU left no stone unturned in seizing items smuggled into the country against government’s trade policy.
The level of seizures recorded by FOU in just one month (from January 1-31, 2018) was mind boggling, as the entire Command from the office area, to the training College, to a large space used as workshop and even the road linking the Command with the training College were all occupied with seizures of various items.
The Unit swiftly arrested 10 suspects in connection with the seizures, warning that FOU will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute economic saboteurs working against government’s efforts to grow local industries.
Infact, Journalists from print and electronic media organisations who came to cover the press conference at Ikeja, Lagos, were astonished at the massive seizures, which include 31 assorted vehicles, 14 trailers of foreign rice, 1,652 cartons of frozen poultry products, 835 gallons of vegetable oil, 10 sacks of Indian Hemp also known as Cannabis Sativa, 2,208 pieces of used tyres and 159 bales of used clothes, among many others
Showing newsmen round the seizures, the Customs Area Controller ,CAC, of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, said, “After intensifying our operational modalities to outsmart the smugglers and their new tactics, we intercepted various contraband with Duty Paid Value ,DPV, of N1.6billion from January 1-31, 2018. Within the same period under review, we recovered N91.3million, making a cumulative of N1.7billion. In th spirit of inter-agency collaboration, the seized Indian Hemp will be handed over to National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency ,NDLEA, for further investigation. 10 suspects have been arrested in connection with these 163 seizures.”
The CAC went on, “It is our obligation to support government’s policy on local rice production, encourage our rice farmers, the millers and patronise our own nutritional rice, which by economic implication will create jobs for Nigerians to boost our economy”.
Responding to questions on the seized vehicles, he pointed out, “Among the detained vehicles as you can see here include four Rolls Royee, one Porche Panamera, one Jaguar, one Bentley, two Lexus Jeep, two G-Wagon, one Toyota Land Cruiser, Five Toyota Corolla, Seven Mercedes Benz among others, mostly 2017 models. These 31 assorted vehicles alone have a DPV of N1.4billion. While some of the vehicles were intercepted along Ijebu Ode Expressway, others were evacuated at various areas within Parkview estate, VI, Banana Island, Alhaji Bankole Crescent Ikeja and Tola Adewunmi street, Maryland”.
“Let the owners of these vehicles come forward with valid Customs clearance documents otherwise, the vehicles will be liabled to seizures and subsequent forfeiture by government, in line with the laws of the land. For the avoidance of doubt, our action is in line with the provisions of sectiion 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act , CEMA, Cap 45, laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (power to search premises), Section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45 laws of the Federation of Nigeria (power to patrol freely)”.
That was not all, the CAC also displayed two containers seized by his Unit, while the 20ft container was seized for carrying 537 cartons of Indian Whisky, as against yeast declared in SGD, the 40ft container was seized for conveying 60 pieces of used Chest freezers and 570 bundles of gas hose, as against condenser for steam polysomic, that, he said was a clear case of false declaration, which is tantamount to seizure of the items.
He emphasized, “Let me use this opportunity to warn all smugglers to desist from any act of illegal trade and invest in legitimate business that will yield dividend on their investments, because there is no amount of resistance from smugglers and their mob accomplices that will deter us from performing our statutory responsibilities in all aspects, especially in supression of smuggling within the southwest zone.”
Financial Business inquest revealed that the Master Strategist behind the massive seizures in FOU zone ‘A’ is the O/C Lagos Roving, Mr. Okpabi Jack, who is specialised in designing the operational template used by his men to outsmart smugglers within their domain. Many officers described him as the man behind FOU’s seizures.