The Headquarters Compliance Team of Nigeria Customs Service Ogun State axis recently made a landmark achievement over the activities of smugglers; as the team lead by Assistant Comptroller Shittu Almaruf intercepted a Mack Truck fully loaded with 1,533 cartons of assorted brands of two stroke engine generators (A.K.A. I pass my neighbour).
Assistant Comptroller Shittu who disclosed this while speaking to journalists in Ogun stated that the generators which were properly concealed in the truck was however intercepted along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on the 19th May, 2016. Also highlighting a similar achievement, the team leader noted that a Maxi-Bus laden with 542 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products was also intercepted at the Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode Expressway.
He stated that both seizures were taken to Customs house in Abeokuta wher they were examined. “The items were subjected to 100% examination to ascertain the quantity of items seized, following which they were converted to seizure in line with sections 46 & 47 of the Customs Management Act, Cap 45 LFN”.
Emphasizing on the reason for the seizures, AC Shittu said. “The Nigeria Customs is merely enforcing a law which emanated from a memo of the Federal Ministry of Environment advising the Government on its health implications. This ban which came into effect on 28th April, 2011 was officially gazetted in May of the same year.
“You may recall that the Federal Government gazette No 47 Volume 98 stated categorically that the purpose of this regulation is to restore, preserve and improve the quality of air. Most importantly, it is specially intended to safeguard Citizens right and access to clean air, reduce and prevent air pollution and improve the health of Nigerians especially in the urban areas with high incidence of air pollution; in view of the poisonous gaseous emission.”
Speaking further, the team leader said, “with regards to the seized frozen poultry products, we are not relenting in our effort to protect the health of Nigerians as well as the huge investments of our local farmers. We will continue to frustrate the effort of smugglers until they hearken to the voice of reason. These products, beyond the fact that they fall under the import prohibition list, is also very detrimental to human health, hence not good for consumption.”
Assistant Comptroller Shittu noted that his team was committed to the enforcement of the fiscal policies of the Federal government with regards to trade and also willing to corporate with other anti-smuggling arms of the Nigeria Customs Service to completely eradicate the activities of smugglers.
He also commended the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and his Management team for their support in the area of logistics, particularly for providing the necessary tools of operations. He stressed that the team is devising other means of ensuring that the activities of smugglers in their area of authority is curtailed. He confirmed that they have been carrying anti-smuggling campaign to all the nooks and crannies of Ogun State, promising that his team will continue to monitor and clamp down on the nefarious activities of smugglers.
On the challenges confronted by the team, he noted that the team has been faced with series of hostilities by miscreants and street urchins who pretend to be smugglers but noted that such pressure cannot deter them from performing their constitutional duty of suppressing smuggling activities to its barest minimum.
He however called on Nigerians to support the compliance team and other Customs formation in its war against smuggling, promising that his team alongside other anti-smuggling arms will always protect the interest of compliant importers or their representative in line with the legitimate trade facilitation policy of the Service.