In a decisive move to uphold customs regulations and combat smuggling, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, disclosed the interception of various contraband, including vehicles, with a total value of N854 million in January. The revelation comes from Hussein Ejibunu, the Customs Area Controller in charge of the command, highlighting the ongoing efforts to curb illegal activities.
During the reported period, the NCS recorded a total of 60 seizures, comprising a range of contraband items. The intercepted goods included 3,653 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 23,025 liters of petroleum motor spirit, 241 bales of used clothes, 1,490 kg of Indian hemp, 1,220 cartons of foreign tomato paste, 983 pieces of used tires, 104 units of Haojue motorcycles, 556 cartons of slippers, and 11 units of used vehicles.
Ejibunu underscored that smuggling involves various criminal activities such as false declarations, concealment of goods, use of unapproved routes, forged customs documents, under-payment of customs duties, and trafficking in prohibited or restricted goods. The NCS aims to address these issues through vigilant enforcement.
In 2023, the FOU Zone A reported 1,119 seizures, 136 arrests, and 16 convictions, with a total duty paid value of N10 billion. In the first month of 2024, 10 suspects were arrested in connection with the seized items, which were found to contravene different sections of the Customs Act (2023). Some goods were expired at the time of importation, while others violated import statutory guidelines.
Highlighting the financial impact of their operations, Ejibunu mentioned that N83 million was generated through documentary checks and the issuance of demand notices on consignments that were found to have been short-paid.
The Customs Area Controller urged increased collaboration and partnership with stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of information sharing and intelligence to effectively combat smuggling. He called on the public to be aware of the consequences of smuggling, as awareness plays a crucial role in reducing the demand for smuggled goods and discouraging individuals from participating in such illegal activities.
In a renewed effort to combat smuggling, the NCS activated enhanced intelligence gathering and information-sharing mechanisms, identifying new smuggling hotspots and schemes employed by smugglers.
Source: The Punch
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