… As FOU, Zone A Records 144 Seizures Worth N3.3bn in Duty
By Shola Fadeyi
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Federal Operations Unit(FOU), Zone A, which jurisdiction covers the Southern part of Nigeria, has said that it has the capability and the capacity to continue to win the battle against smugglers, if they persist in indulging in smuggling.
The Acting Controller of the Unit , Comptroller Usman Yahaya stated this, while exhibiting the quantum of seizures made by the Zone in Ikeja , Lagos recently, against the background of the fact that the smugglers have continued to engage in the nefarious act of smuggling, despite the various seizures that have been made by the Customs .
Yahaya said it was regrettable that despite the haul of 144 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3.3 billion the Zone recorded between April 21 to July 4 , 2021 and others it has impounded before then , the smugglers have not repented ,but pointed out that the Zone has what it takes to continue to handle them.
Yahaya disclosed that the Unit has been having confrontations with smugglers especially in volatile areas like Oyo and Idiroko axis, where smuggling is considered a legitimate business. He declared that such confrontations will never deter his operatives from carrying out their statutory responsibilities.
Describing smugglers as hardened criminals, who are bent on crippling the economy, he said , from the foregoing, it has shown that smugglers are undaunted in their nefarious activities to cripple the economy,adding that with the magnitude of the seizures showcased in the Zone A’s press briefings, one would have expected a reduction in their activities.
‘’Nevertheless, we have the capacity and the capability to render smugglers in this Zone miserable. Whatever is the driving force behind their activities, we will continue to make it unprofitable for them.” he said.
He urged smugglers to desist from engaging in smuggling activities for Nigeria to have a decent society. adding that there are many legitimate businesses that will earn them a good living, which they have to divert to.
Yahaya however said the Unit also arrested 23 suspects who were connected to the various seizures during the period , out of which 12 have secured administrative bail, while 11 are still in customs custody.
He listed the items seized by the Unit to include: 14,789 bags of 50kg smuggled parboiled rice, 727 cartons of unregistered drugs, 2,784 cartons of frozen poultry products, 28 units of smuggled used vehicles, 116,000 litres (4,640 jerry cans) of premium motor spirit (PMS), 237 bales and six sacks of secondhand clothing.
Others , according to him are; 20 cartons of Tramadol, 885 pieces of used tyres, 10,400 cartons of alcoholic beverages in four containers, 84 different kinds of vehicles laden with 50kg each smuggled rice, 5x20ft containers of rough and semi-processed woods, among others.