The Nigeria Customs service FOU Zone ‘A’ has disclosed that goods with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N668,392,940.00 was seized in the first quarter of the year (January – April) 2016 by the unit.
The disclosure was made recently at a press statement issued by the unit. Also in the press statement, 42 suspects were said to have been arrested in connection with the seizures.
The Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru who gave the breakdown of seizures commodity by commodity said one 141 different seizures of rice totalling 8,148 bags of 50kg parboiled rice and 50 bags of 25kg with DPV of N53,124,500.00.
On the second item, the Controller stated that 112 different seizures of imported frozen poultry products, totaling 20,742 cartons with DPV N112,006,800.00 were seized during the same period.
On 24 kegs of 10 liters, one hundred and forty 140 cartons of kings oil, one hundred and twenty 120 pieces, 1,250 N18,788,400.00.
Dahiru further said 32 Units of Vehicles, 12 cut buses with DPV of N87,210,000.00 and on general merchandise, 148 different seizures comprising of new and used textile materials, new and used foot wears, mosquito insecticide, spaghetti noodles, various soap and detergent, used tyres, narcotics, compressors, hard drugs, Indian hemp etc, with DPV of N397,263,240.00.
While making a comparative analysis of the 2016 first quarter report viz-a-viz the report of corresponding period of 2015, Comptroller Dahiru said that although the Unit intercepted 628 different seizures with a DPV N428,664,404.00 only.
It is obvious that the quality of seizures for the period 2016 is far higher than the corresponding period of 2015.
“This is an eloquent testimony to the fact that we are principally concerned about quality seizures as against inconsequential ones.”
He disclosed further that, “despite the harsh economic realities, the Unit was still able to demonstrate capacity in actualising the set objectives of the Service, particularly in enforcing the fiscal policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Furthermore, the Controller noted that the items were seized in line with sections 46 and 47 of the Customs & Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004, which are on ‘forfeiture of goods improperly imported’ as well as ‘penalty for improper importation of goods etcetera’, with attendant penalties.
On the operational challenges of the unit, the Dahiru said it is instructive to note that the successes recorded in this first quarter came as a result of the painstaking effort of the operatives. “This is in view of the fact that these smugglers are becoming more daring by the day and in most cases displaying uncommon courage and tenacity in challenging our operatives.
“This hostile approach is actually quite expected because of the growing desperation among smuggling kingpins to thwart the efforts of our operatives, using all available means, both conventional and unconventional methods. The Unit has remained undeterred and unshaken even in the face of this aggressiveness on the part of these smugglers and their collaborations.
“Beyond the issue of hostility are the challenges of ignorance by most community dwellers – inhabitants of these areas, who are mostly ‘crossers’ in local parlance; they feign ignorance of the existing laws on import and export. And this is why they engage in these nefarious activities, clearly ignorant of its socio-economic implications to the Nation’s economy and even to their wellbeing.”
Summarily the Controller emphasised that smuggling, just like scavenging is a global menace and that countries all over the world are constantly strategising on how to suppress it in their domain, using various methods. And that it is in view of this that the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’, have keyed into the various strategies, including the use of ICT in gathering intelligence amongst others.
The Controller also expressed his deep appreciation for the immeasurable and unflinching support from the top echelon of the Service, personified by the Comptroller General of Customs, Retired Col. Hammed Ibrahim Ali and his able lieutenants which have led to remarkable results