Apapa Customs Warns Dubious Importers,Exceeds 1st Half, 2024 Revenue by 143%

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Comptroller Babatunde Olomu, CAC, Apapa Command.

.Intercepts Illegal Goods Worth  N424.1m

 

By Shola Fadeyi

Some of the expired pharmaceuticals seized by the Command.

The Apapa Command of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), has sounded a note of warning to  smugglers , duty evaders and perpetrators of  other forms of criminality, frowned upon by the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 , to avoid the Command, as  they would be caught, even as it has surpassed its revenue generation, in the first half of 2024, by over 143 per cent.

The Controller of the Command  , Comptroller Babatumde Olomu , who gave the warning yesterday, in Lagos,  while giving an account of the Command’s stewardship, for the first half of 2024, said that  that the  Command is poised to nip illicit importation in the bud.

He said the stand , which the Command has taken against dubious importers  , the  ingenuity of  its officers , coupled with the support of the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi ,  have made it  possible for it to record  N1,023,663,842,255 as revenue, in the first half of this year, as against N421,382,166,378.46 in the corresponding period of 2023.

Olomu disclosed   that, the fact that the Command   recorded a sharp rise in its  revenue  generation  during the period ,  despite a sharp reduction in the volume of trade, is a strong indication, that  extra measures have been put in place to prevent losses of government revenue.

According to him , upon  taking over  as an Area Controller in the Command , he had to set up a revenue recovery committee, comprising of seasoned and dedicated officers, with a mandate to carry out more detailed look into areas of leakages, especially in bonded terminals under Apapa Command.

The Controller said that the Command also has a team of dedicated officers,charged with the responsibility of addressing all complaints or disputes within record time, before escalation to the Controller’s office for prompt action.

In the area of trade facilitation, Olomu said the Command is applying a blend of intelligence with community relations, for better awareness of the Command’s operating environment, to achieve greater trade facilitation and  fight criminality.

Consequently, in line with the CGC zero tolerance for smuggling, the Command , he said ,has  reformed the way of treating transpires, by ensuring more meticulous management of cargoes moving from the mother port to bonded terminals, adding that , this has  become necessary to prevent a situation where smugglers attempt to perpetuate illegalities in bonded terminals.

To sustain this tempo, Comptroller Olomu said , no cargo is allowed to exit from the Command’s  control without thorough inspection, using the scanner, saying that the Command will not  compromise on thism, as it  will keep making seizures, detention and arrests where necessary, to protect the national economy and prevent Nigerians from exposure to dangerous or unwholesome products, like illicit drugs.

In the area of trade facilitation, Olomu said the   Command  is  applying a blend of intelligence with community relations, for better awareness of its  operating environment, to achieve greater trade facilitation and fight  criminality.

In the realm  of anti- smuggling, according to him. the Command recorded seizures of 11 containers, comprising  prohibited items, such as expired and unregistered pharmaceuticals, footwears, used clothing, armored cables, frozen poultry products, among others,  with a Duty Paid Value of   N424,105,975.00, as against 42 seizures with a DPV of N1.4 billion in the same period of 2023.

Comptroller Olomu disclosed that the Command   uncovered a large quantity of expired and unregistered pharmaceuticals in 3x40ft container, numbers TCKU 6928184, MRKU 4422733, MRSU 5550243, and another 3x40ft container nos, MNBU 3934925, MEDU 9107559 and MEDU 9752980 loaded with 7,580 cartons of frozen poultry products, unfit for human consumption.

He said the imports is  against schedule 3 of the revised import prohibition list of the Common External Tariff (CET)-  importations , which violate section 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.

Olomu pointed out that the harmful effects of fake and unregistered pharmaceutical products on citizens are unquantifiable, saying that as a responsible outfit,  the Customs owes  Nigerians the duty of preventing them from being exposed to this dangerous importations.

The Comptroller said, in line with the CGC’s zero tolerance,  he has   thus  reformed the Command ‘s way of treating transpires, by ensuring more meticulous management

of cargoes, moving from the mother port to bonded terminals, adding that , this is to  prevent a situation where smugglers would  attempt to perpetuate illegalities in bonded terminals.

According to him, to  sustain this tempo, the Command has decided that no  cargo would henceforth be  allowed to exit from the Command’s  control, without thorough inspection using the scanner.

He pledged that the Command will not compromise on this, as it will keep making seizures, detention and arrests, where necessary to protect the national economy, and prevent Nigerians from exposure to dangerous or unwholesome products like illicit drugs.

Olomu thus  commended the  Nigeria Police, Department of State Service (DSS), NDLEA, NAFDAC, SON, NIS, NAQS, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and others, for their support so far, saying  that they will  all continue to make  progress together in the national interest.

 

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