Customs FOU nets N8.6billion
.Intercepts N2.7bn wild life parts
.Impounds 167 units of exotic vehicles
.Seizes 58 trailers load of rice
.3,463 cartons of pharmaceutical products
By Udeme Clement
The Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has generated over N8.2billion from seizures of prohibited items to the coffers of the Federal Government from January to June, 2018 economic year.
The Unit also made underpayment recovery of N N405.2million, thereby making cumulative revenue of N8.6billion for the period under review.
The Public Relations Officer, PRO, of the Unit, Mr. Jerry Attah, in a statement made available to Financial Business, disclosed that the N405.2million was realised from duty payments, demand notices on vehicles and general goods that tried to cut corners from seaports, airport, border stations through wrong classification, transfer of value, as well as shortchange in duty payment meant for government.
He disclosed, “In the period under review, 107 suspects were arrested in connection with 596 different seizures comprising 34,652 smuggled foreign rice (equivalent to 58 trailers); 167 units of exotic vehicles (Toyota Prado/Lexus; bullet proof), Toyota C-HR , Toyota Camry LE, Toyota Prado(s), Toyota Hilux, Ford F150, Pajero Jeeps and Mercedes Benz ranging from 2015-2018 models). Other seizures include 8,987 cartons of frozen poultry products, 4,586 gallons of vegetable oil, 3,463 cartons of different pharmaceutical/medicaments, 370 parcels/98 sacks of Indian hemp weighing 1,350kg and other items”.
He pointed out, “Remarkably among the seizures within this period, was the interception of 460 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 12, 264 kg and 218 elephant tusks, making it the highest seizure of such endangered species in the history of FOU Zone ‘A’.”
Financial Business inquest revealed that the seizures of wild life parts among others brought a lot of accolades to the Unit from the Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC, Hameed Ali and his management team. To crown it all, was the visit by the Minister of State for Environment, Mallam Ibrahim Usman accompanied by the United Nations Charter on CITES delegates, led by Mr Juan Carlos, who is the Chief Legal Affairs, CITES Headquarters in Geneva, to inspect the seized items, in order to make necessary recommendations to the headquarters.
The Minister commended the Customs Area Controller, CAC, of FOU Zone ‘A’, Comptroller Mohammed Uba and his officers for these outstanding seizures. The UN delegates also promised their support to provide training towards combating illicit trade on endangered species, so that such harmless animals don’t go into extinction. The seized pangolin scales and elephant tusks are valued at N2.7billion and two Chinese were arrested in connection with the items.
Accordingly, in order to ensure full implementation of government’s policy banning importation of rice through the land borders, FOU Zone ‘A’ is re-strategising its operational network and beaming its searchlight at the creeks and waterways at various locations within the Southwest zone.
The assertion of Comptroller Uba, “We would continue to make sure smugglers within our areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they desist from sabotaging our economy and allow local industries to thrive, in order to create jobs for the people”.
“This feat would not have been possible without logistics support of CGC Hameed Ali, his entire management and the media for its partnership in sensitising the public on the dangers of smuggling to the nation’s economy. I thank other sister agencies that are always available to give operational support, most especially the Nigerian Army, Police and DSS among others. We look forward to sustaining this synergy that will yield better performance in the remaining half of the year.
“I equally commend our officers and men for their resilience and doggedness that brought about this feat. Let all officers be diligent in performing their statutory responsibilities; most especially in the area of anti-smuggling operations by making sure all revenue leakages are blocked. We must keep thwarting the antics of smugglers who used different methods for illicit business”.