By: Joy Anyim
Ahead of the Sallah celebration, the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service said the Unit have intercepted 9,049 bags of 50 kg rice concealed in different Dangote trucks, 15 units of vehicles among other items with a Duty Paid Value of over N1.4 Billion.
The Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba who stated this during the monthly press briefing in Ikeja on Wednesday noted that most of the seizures were made in the creeks and water sides in the southwest.
Uba who also disclosed that the operatives of the Unit had also arrested 12 suspects in connection with the seizures said two containers with No. FCIU983753 and TGHU6924330 were intercepted with 120 bales of new jeans falsely declared as punching machine.
The Controller said, ” Having reinvigorated our anti-smuggling operations between May 16th and June 12th 2018, we have intercepted various contraband, goods and vehicles on detention with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.3 Billion.
” Similarly, the unit through its interventions recovered over N59.5 Million from underpayment making a cumulative of over N1.4 Billion within the weeks under review.
” The detained /seized items include 15 exotic vehicles including 3 Toyota C-HR, 1 Toyota Camry LE, 1 Toyota Prado (all 2018 model). Also 1 Toyota Hilux, 1 Ford F150, 1 Pajero jeep, 1 Mercedes Benz (all 2017 model) among others.
” Other spectacular seizures include 9,049 bags of foreign parboiled rice (15 trailers), 1,464 cartons of frozen poultry products, 870 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 273 bales of used clothing, 592 pieces of used tyres among others.”
Speaking further on the seized bags of rice, Uba said the Unit had adopted new strategy which yielded great result. He said, “In order to ensure full implementation of the government policy banning the importation of rice through land borders and following headquarters directive on same, we re-strategized our operational modalities and beam our searchlight at the creek, water side and at various locations in southwest Zone and hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the period under review.”
On the other seizures made by the Unit within the period, the Controller said two containers with No. PCIU850134/9 and PCIU8278544 were also held for false declaration. The two containers were carrying 8,633 pieces of empty cylinders as against plumbing materials declared in their SGD.
Lamenting the rate of false declaration, he said, ” Traders are always looking for profit and it is in the course of doing that, they continue to do false declaration believing that they will escape. On our part we have also widened our intelligence and exchange of ideas to make sure that we bring such goods under our control.
” You see the collosal damage done by these people. The importers may not be necessary liable for that, but the agent who is clearing the goods also collaborate. This is why the government has given the room for individual clearance to avoid such damage of people loosing their goods.
” False declaration is none trade complaint. The moment you do not comply with trade, regulations, we implement trade policies and that is why the containers are here and the suspects in our cells. During festive seasons, people are used to eating rice. So when government says don’t import, some people will still go ahead to disobey government laws and orders.
“We have intercepted this rice and they have been forfeited to the federal government and we will continue to do that. We are worried and that is why we want everyone to be trade complaint. It is because they are not patriotic, if they are, they will understand that the money Customs generate is for the three tiers of government to develop the nation.”
He however declared that the Unit will continue to make sure smugglers within their areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging the economy.
” As you already know, smuggling is a global phenomenon that cannot be eradicated entirely but if all hands are on deck it will be reduced to its barest minimum
“Let me commend our officers who have put their lives on the line making these seizures, most especially the 15 trailers load of rice knowing fully well it’s a big battle at the creek and Bush parts. Their resilience and doggedness is highly commendable, ” he said.
He also noted that the feat couldn’t have been possible without the logistics support of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd), the entire Management and the media who have been sensitizing and educating the general public on the evil of smuggling to the nation’s economy.
He also wished the Muslim faithful a Happy Sallah celebration in advance.