Remarkable Performance: Apapa Customs rakes in over N65.4 bn

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  • Records N1.8 bn seizures
  • As Compt Mallanta trails dangerous drugs from India

(Report by Udeme Clement):

The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Mallanta Ibrahim Yusuf, and his officers have made remarkable performance in revenue collection for the Federal Government, trade facilitation and anti-smuggling operations.

The officers through hard work and assiduousness collected over N65.4 billion revenue for government to run the economy.

Most impressive is the fact that this huge amount of N65.4 billion was generated in just one month, that is April, 2021.

Addressing Journalists yesterday during a press conference, Comptroller Mallanta, pointed out; “The N65.4 billion clearly shows an increase of N25,585,561, 139.92; (approximately N25.6billion), when compared to revenue collection made in April 2020.

“This indicates 64 percent increase in revenue collection. This unprecedented record has never been achieved in the history of Apapa Area Command”.

In the same vein, the Command made massive seizures of seven containers of prohibited items worth over N1,760,506,363.00, (approximately N1.8 billion), in Duty Paid Value (DPV).

Comptroller Mallanta revealed; “In line with the provision of extant laws, trade guidelines and enforcement of government fiscal policy measures, the Command was able to further strengthen its anti-smuggling operations against economic saboteurs through credible intelligence-driven operations. This led to the seizure of 4 x 40ft containers laden with unregistered pharmaceuticals (674 cartons of tramadol tablets in 225mg and 120mg, as well as 805 cartons of codeine syrup in 100ml) at APMT and Sifax 3 bonded terminals respectively.

“These importations contravened sections 46 & 47 of Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C 45 LFN 2004. It is pertinent to note that these dangerous drugs pose serious threat to health of the citizenry and economic well-being of the country. As such, the Command is poised to tackling this menace head-on. Other items seized within the period under review include two containers of unprocessed wood and one container of scrap copper wire meant for export. Exportation of the above items is in breach of schedule 6 (items 4 & 6) of the Common External Tariff (CET).”

Speaking further while displaying the seized Tramadol before reporters at Sifax – 3 bonded terminal, Ijora, Lagos, Comptroller Mallanta, exonerated APMT and Sifax Group from blame. He emphasised that the terminal operators had nothing to do with the seized Tramadol, that they only warehoused the items.
He said; “The duty of terminal operators is to warehouse goods. So, they had nothing to do with the importation. Just like clearing agents, who sometimes undertake clearance of goods from the port without knowing that prohibited items are concealed among the items. The clearing agents only work on documents from the importers. Sometimes they are victims of circumstance. The terminal operators can only be held responsible if the containers in their warehouses are vandalised.”

The CAC said his Command trailed the container for weeks through intelligence and eventually seized the Tramadol concealed with cartons of hot-pots.
His words; “These drugs were imported from India. In India, tramadol is not contraband but in Nigeria government has placed restriction on it because of the health implications.
So, we must enforce government policies to the fullest.

“I’m appealing to Nigerians to desist from importing harmful drugs into the country, because even GOD is not happy about nefarious activities capable of bringing harm to other people. As you can see, these are tramadol tablets but the document from the importer says hot-pots. This is a clear case of false declaration. So, this container is seized”.

The CAC attributed the feats recorded by Apapa Command to hard work and resilience of his officers. His assertions; “These unprecedented achievements were made possible because of the resilience and commitment of our officers to their duties. Nonetheless, we have taken bold initiatives to ensure collection of appropriate revenue by creating an enabling environment for legitimate businesses to thrive.”

Comptroller Mallanta, applauded the Comptroller-General of Customs – CGC Hameed Ibrahim Ali, and his Management team for their continuous support and encouragement.
He also thanked valuable stakeholders on the clearance chain, government agencies in the port for their unflinching support towards the realisation of the feats recorded by Apapa Command.

OBSERVATION AT THE TERMINAL
While at the terminal, our Correspondent observed that the tramadol tablets were well packaged and cleverly concealed with cartons of hot-pots at the extreme of a 40ft container fully loaded with other cartons.
In fact, if not for superior intelligence of Apapa Customs officers, who uncovered the antics of the importer, those dangerous drugs would have entered the local market.

It was also observed that the tramadol tablets
were packaged in different methods by the importer in attempt to escape security checks at the seaport, but Apapa Customs officers uncovered the concealment with their ‘Eagle-eye’, thereby preventing the dangerous drugs from entering wrong hands.

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