Customs FOU intercepts COVID-19 essential duty vehicle smuggling poultry products from Benin Republic to Nigeria
* Seizes N12.7bn smuggled vehicles, petrol, rice, others
By Udeme Clement :
The Federal Operations Unit of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has intercepted a vehicle with Covid-19 sticker meant for essential duty used to smuggle frozen chicken into the country.
The Unit also intercepted various contraband items worth over N12.7billion from January to April 2020.
The Public Relations Officer, PRO, of the unit, Jerry Attah, disclosed this in a press release made available to reporters.
He revealed that the officers intercepted the vehicle under the guise of essential duty smuggling cartons of frozen chicken into the country from Benin Republic.
Attah who quoted the Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the Unit, Usman Yahaya, said, “the vehicle was intercepted along Ijebu-ode expressway.
“Our officers intercepted the vehicle based on intelligence. The eagle-eyes of the officers caught the vehicle while on routine patrol at that axis”.
The CAC emphasised, “the officers were professional enough to intercept the vehicle believed to be used in moving essential commodities but was surprise to see that it was used for illegal activity, such as conveying contraband.
“We have seized the vehicle and investigation has commenced to get to the root of the matter. Also, to unravel other atrocities that may have been committed using the ensential duty tag.”
However, speaking on activities of the Unit in the last four months, the CAC informed, “contraband worth over N12.7 billion were intercepted from January to April 2020”.
According to him, “the Unit also paid a whopping N1.14 billion into the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government from Debit Note (DN) on intercepted containers from Lagos seaport, voluntary payment of Customs duty on vehicles and auction sales from petrol, among others”.
Giving a break down of the seizures, he explained, “25 units of fairly used vehicles worth N108million, 5,644 cartons of frozen chicken worth N54.1million were intercepted, 9,843 bags of 50kg smuggled parboiled rice worth N130.4 million and sacks of textile materials worth N94million were seized in the period under review.
“Others are, N14million worth of used tyre, 3,764 kegs of smuggled vegetables oil worth N69.2 million, 8,365 litres of smuggled petrol also known as (PMS) and AGO also known as Diesel worth N35million.”
The Customs boss stressed, “We won’t relent on our anti-smuggling fight, especially at this time the government is preaching diversification into agriculture due to the fall of crude oil prices in the international market, which has affected government revenue.
“So, we will ensure that smuggling is curtailed in all ramifications, in order to promote economic growth and development.”
Recall that FOU Zone ‘A’ is an anti-smuggling arm of the Service saddled with the responsibility of suppressing smuggling in six States within the South-West.