By Chiazo Ogbolu
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Federal Operations Unit, Zone A has intercepted hemp, drums of carbide (explosives) and other items with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3.1 billion naira.
The Acting Controller, Deputy Comptroller Usman Yahaya, in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday, said the seizures were made from Feb. 9 till date.
According to him, 80 means of conveyance (Vehicles used in the conveyance of seized goods) were seized, pointing to the fact that smugglers are unrelenting and adamant at complying with the extant laws on international trade.
“It is important to note that importation of items such as foreign frozen poultry products, secondhand clothing, spaghetti, toothpicks, used vehicles and rice across land borders, and many more, remains banned.
“Within the period under review, the unit recorded the following seizures: 20,538 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 3,106 cartons of frozen poultry product, 1,488 kegs of PMS at 25 litres each, 1,035 bales of secondhand clothing.
“Others are 77 cartons of tin tomatoes, 2,843.6 kg of Indian Hemp, 877 bundles of printed wax/textile materials, 29 different brands of used vehicles, 2,969 cartons of Eva soap, 42 drums of carbide (explosives) 549 cartons of Tramadol and 12 units of used motorcycles with DPV of N 3.1 billion,” he said.
Yahaya said that in the area of interventions regarding Demand Notices arising from under-payments, the unit realised N242,251,506.00 during the period under review.
He said that Section 158 of Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004 as amended, had given them powers to patrol and search everywhere without restrictions.
The controller said that Section 147 of the same CEMA empowered them to enter into any premises without search warrant, provided there was credible information on prohibited items deposited therein for the customs to strike.
“The power to seize and prosecute offenders is also embedded in Sections 46 and 47 respectively. It is instructive to know that offenders are liable to prosecution without option of fine.
“A total of nine suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures. Two out of the nine have been charged to court while the other seven are on administrative bail,” he said.
He urged everyone to be worried about smuggling because it begot unemployment, drug addiction, criminality, proliferation of light and small arms, substandard goods and so on.
“You can imagine what will happen if 42 drums of Carbide (explosives) had entered wrong hands.
“We need your continuous cooperation by providing credible information to continue to hold sway in the fight against smuggling,” he said (NAN)