Customs at Seme rakes in N1bn
.Seizes 11 trailers of foreign rice, 22 exotic cars
.Arrests 7 suspects
By Udeme Clement
The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Seme Area Command has recorded another feat in anti-smuggling operations, with seizures of over 22 exotic cars, 6,753 bags of foreign rice, which is equivalent to over 11 trailer trucks in just one month.
The Command also arrested seven suspects in connection with the seized items, three out of which have been sentenced to prison for economic sabotage.
The Customs Area Controller, CAC, of Seme, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, who is known to be experienced and highly skilled Customs officer, leaving his footprint at every Command he works, unveiled the mind-boggling seizures, during a press conference with Journalists, which lasted several hours, from the main Customs office, to the warehouse, open places were seizures were kept and ended at the Joint Border Post.
The Command also displayed remarkable seizures of Toyota 4-runner, 2014 model, bought N10million by the owner and N1.8million given to clearing agent who smuggled in the vehicle through Seme land border; executive bus with name of a private school deliberately inscripted on it by smugglers, in order to escape security checks at the border; a car loaded with tramadol but concealed with textile materials and a vehicle meant for distribution of Yoghurt drinks, used in conveying over 20 bags of smuggled rice.
Movement to the warehouse revealed another mind blowing sight, as the whole place was filled to the brim with seizures of rice, large quantity of sugar, secondhand shoes, bags and other prohibited items recorded by the Command in the short period.
The press conference took another dimension, as more seizures, mostly rice were still being brought in during the exercise. The team was led by SC Isah Adamu an officer of Seme Command.
Addressing news men at the scene, Comptroller Uba in company of the DC Enforcement, DC Adhunse A. and senior officers of the Command, stressed, “What you are witnessing now shows unwavering resolve of our officers in various operations, which focused in maximising revenue collection, suppression of smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade proficiently enforced across the Lagos-Abidjan corridor, in the first month of the year, 2019”.
The Seme CAC went on, “In the month of December, 2018, the Command generated N623million revenue, representing about 92percent of the Command’s revenue target. The Command also made seizures worth millions of Naira. The grand total for both seizures and revenue stands at N1.0billion, in the period under review”.
Comptroller Uba pointed out, “Similarly, the intensified operation of the enforcement unit has drastically reduced smuggling activities to the barest minimum. The seizures made include 6,753 bags of foreign rice, which is equivalent to over 11 trailer trucks, with Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N121,689,060 plus levy of N35,790,900, making a total of N157,479,960. Others include 45 jerrycans of vegetable oil (25litres each), 135 bags of sugar (50kg each), 71jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 21 cartons of tin-tomato, secondhand shoes and several others.”
Comptroller Uba also disclosed that 91 parcels of hard drugs were successfully handed over to NDLEA. “It would interest you to know that one of the suspects transferred to NDLEA was prosecuted and given two years prison sentence”.
He enthused, “As we look forward to a prosperous year, on behalf of our officers at Seme Command, we extend our unreserved appreciation to the Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC Ali Hameed and his Management Team for continuous support, as well as encouragement”.