Customs FOU makes massive seizures worth N694.5million; arrests 5 suspects
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service, has sustained its anti-smuggling war against illicit traders within its area of coverage, with massive seizures recorded in the month of March, 2023.
The Unit promptly arrested five suspects in connection with some of the seizures.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, Compt HUSSEIN EJIBUNU, unveiled the seizures yesterday, during press conference, saying the total Duty Paid Value of the seized items amounted to N694,462,150.00 (approximately N694.5million).
His explanation : “Our strategies are consistently being reworked in our efforts to be ahead of economic saboteurs, towards defeating their game of concealment, false declaration, under payment and duty evasion.
“Prominent among the seizures made for contravening various sections of extant Customs laws are: 6,228 X 50kg bags of foreign rice (equivalent to 11 trailer loads); 35,325 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS); 279 Cartons of foreign poultry products; 105 parcels of cannabis sativa; 2 x 40 ft containers said to contain 883 bales of used clothes and eight units of Tokunbo vehicles”.
He pointed out : “While the Federal Government plays its role by imposing trade restrictions, in effort to protect our local companies and farmers from unhealthy competition with foreign firms, the onus lies on its citizens to complement government’s efforts through compliance with Customs’ extant regulations and government’s fiscal policies.
“This can be achieved by making sincere declarations and being properly guided by the import/export prohibition lists.”
Compt EJIBUNU, who has been very consistent in the war against smuggling, emphasised :
“It is imperative to note that the wisdom behind government’s protective policy is to protect the national economy and safeguard its citizens’ lives and property. Smuggled bales of used clothes expose its users to fungal diseases and other skin diseases like scabies.
“Apart from the effect of smuggled foreign frozen poultry products on the economy, it also affects the health of its consumers. Some of these frozen poultry products are preserved under questionable conditions. This assertion is embedded in some previous laboratory reports by National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“As part of the results achieved from the reworked strategy; expired, illicit and other drugs that did not comply with statutory import requirements intercepted at different times and locations are constructively warehoused in 39 x 140 ft and 2 x 20 ft containers by this Unit; and will be handed over to NAFDAC for possible destruction (with DPV of N1,422,000,000).”
He went on : “These seizures are a reflection of our commitment to duty and non-compromise in the discharge of our functions; aimed at protecting the nation’s economy and preventing importation of prohibited and harmful products from entering our domestic market.
The general public is encouraged to approach any Customs office across the country for information and guidance concerning international trade”.
He stressed; “In our efforts to prevent loss of government revenue to duty under-payments that either arose from under-valuation of imported items or wrong Harmonized System (HS) code classification; the sum of N72,693,307.09 (approximately N72.7million) was recovered during the period under review”.