Customs in Owerri seizes exotic cars, tyres, items worth over N351. 4million
*As Compt Olusemire trails smugglers on hinterland
By Udeme Clement
The doggedness of Comptroller Olusemire Kayode and his men in trailing smugglers on the hinterland is paying off with mind-boggling seizures made by Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ Owerri, of Nigeria Customs Service.
Comptroller Olusemire, who is the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, and his operatives are not giving illicit traders any breathing space in the Zone.
Only few weeks after unveiling massive seizures of contraband, the Unit covering Benin axis, has again intercepted 10,080 pieces of used tyres, 205 bales of second-hand clothes, used bags, rubber slippers and exotic cars, among other items worth over N351. 4million in Duty Paid Value, DPV.
Comptroller Olusemire, disclosed this yesterday, at a press briefing in Edo State.
According to him, “Patrol teams covering the axis made the seizures from March to date, along Benin-Shagamu road, and along Oluku Ondo state road. The seizures have been deposited at government warehouse in Aduwawa Benin, Edo State”.
The CAC praised officers of the Unit for their tenacity in thwarting activities of smugglers in the area known for high smuggling activities into South East and South South areas.
He added, “Their hard work complements the efforts of officers at the ports and neighbouring zones. The Unit is witnessing a gradual rise in smuggling of tyres and other commodities against rice, as the war on rice smuggling has been yielding the desired results.
“We have a container from Lagos carrying these tyres. They were able to evade the eagle eye of officers on the road but when they entered our zone, we picked it up. We have 7120 pieces of used tyres in the container. We have 205 bales of second-hand clothes. We have rubber slippers, you name it. We have virtually all things”.
He went on, “Look at the number of cars we picked up. Smugglers have devised so many means to evade detection but it is already known to them that the Service is ready. We are on their tail, anywhere they pass through, we will catch up with them. If they beat detection at Idiroko, Seme, even beat detection from Apapa or Tincan, we are there manning the flank for them and we will still pick them up”.
He added, “2960 pieces of used tyres were also seized in a separate bust. The Federal Road Safety Corp has attributed 44 percent of road traffic accidents to the use of second-hand tyres and urged motorists to listen to advocacy, pleas of government and buy new tyres for their vehicles”.
While displaying cars seized along Benin axis, Comptroller Olusemire said the daredevil smugglers of one of the cars tried to evade detection by using Police spy plate number, which on inspection was found to be fake.
The CAC strongly condemned importation of second-hand clothes, bags, rubber slippers and other prohibited items, stressed that they are classified as absolute prohibitions by the Federal Government, because such items endanger and negatively exploit the health and safety of the nation.
His words, “We have over five brand new vehicles 2019 model. I wonder why someone will bring in 2019 vehicle and not pay duty on it. If you can afford to buy a 2019 brand new vehicle, why can’t you endeavour to pay duty, instead of smuggling it?”
“Rubber slippers can be manufactured in Nigeria. If you go to Aba, they are manufacturing rubber slippers and bags. So, why would someone go to China and bring in rubber slippers and used bags for ladies? We should discourage ourselves from these and learn the habit of using what we produce in Nigeria.”
He warned smugglers to desist from economic sabotage, while calling on all Nigerians to contribute to the growth of the economy by engaging in legitimate trade.
He pointed out, “When you get to the port pay your duty. When you are making your declaration, declare what you are carrying. Make sure you declare what you have. Open Form ‘M’ for whatever you know you are bringing into the country. We should stop doing things that are inimical to our health and health of the country. Nigerians must not harass Customs officers discharging their legitimate duties.