The Federal Operating Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has released a score card of its first quarter operations while lamenting that porous borders, multiple creeks are some of the factors frustrating the effort of the service at ridding the country of smugglers.
Giving the break down, the Controller of the zone, Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru, said during the period under reference the zone effected four hundred and eighty one (481) different seizures of offending/prohibited items valued at five hundred and twenty seven million, eight hundred and thirty thousand, three hundred and fifty naira (N527,830,350.00) with a payable Duty of One Hundred and Forty Million, Five Hundred and Sixty Two Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety Naira (N140,562,590.00) and a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Six Hundred and Sixty Eight Million, Three Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand, Nine Hundred and Forty Naira (N668,392,940.00) while apprehending forty two (42) suspects in connection with the seizures.
Providing a breakdown of the seizures, the Comptroller stated that 141 different seizures of rice, totalling 8,148 bags of 50kg parboiled rice and 50 bags of 25kg with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N53 million were recorded. 112 different seizures of imported frozen poultry products, totalling 20,742 cartons with Duty Paid Value of N112million, 32 units of vehicles, 12 buses with Duty Paid Value of N87million.
Others are 50 different seizures of vegetable oil, totalling 2,519 kegs of 25 litres, 24 kegs of 10 litres, 140 cartons of kings oil, 148 different seizures of general merchandise comprising new & used textile materials, new & used foot wears, mosquito insecticide, spaghetti noodles, various soap & detergent, used tyres, narcotics, compressors, hard drugs, Indian hemp with a DPV of N397 million.
The service meanwhile lamented that in spite of the feat achieved and how good the record may appear, the business of smuggling is still growing and appearing increasingly unabated due to the multiple entries and exits around the land borders coupled with numerous creeks which cannot be effectively manned by personnel of the NCS.
Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’ Assistant Comptroller General Charles Edike is however seeking the support of the Nigerian Navy to police the waterways saying with Nigeria’s vast coastline, it would be impossible for Customs officers to effectively tackle smuggling on the waterways alone.
He said” there is no how we can man all the coastline in the country effectively. Even if you bring all customs officer in Nigeria to man the coastline, we still cannot cover all effectively because there are thousands of creeks here and there that the smugglers know the terrain and so they can easily manoeuvre and then get away,” he said.