The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri has said it recorded 307 contrabands seizures worth N4,756,277,885.21 in its anti-smuggling activities in 2016.
According to a statement signed and released by the Public Relations Officer of the Zone, Onuigbo Ifeoma, the figure represents both the Duty Paid Value of N3,985,931,643.00 and an underpayment recovered as revenue of N770,346,242.00.
She quoted the Controller of the Federal Operations Unit, Comptroller Uba Mohammed as having given the details in his annual report for the year 2016.
The unit noted that the sustained aggressive onslaught against smuggling by its officers and men has since driven many smugglers out of their illicit business as the FOU Zone C within the period arrested a 234 suspects with 24 cases still pending in court in connection with the seizures.
A breakdown of the prohibited items seized include: 169 motor vehicles with a DPV of N1,013,005,101.21; 2,725 cartons of narcotics (Indian hemp/hard drugs), with a DPV of N366,835,000.00; and 1,759 pairs, 85 cartons and 68 sacks/bales of foot wears, with a DPV of N28,234,060.00.
Others are: 7,795 soap/detergents/toiletries with a DPV of N58,889,181; 107,006 cartons of imported frozen poultry products, with a DPV of N1,402,086,836.00; 1,018 pieces and 561 bales of bags/suitcases, which had a DPV of N134,964,320.00 in addition to 5,794 rethread and used pneumatic tyres bearing a DPV of N97,597,620.00.
The rest are 50 cartons and 147 pieces of beverages/confectionary/juices with a DPV of N3,248,570.00; 14,006 bags of rice, which has a DPV of N447,850,240.00; 2,333 cartons and 1,598 pieces of furniture and parts thereof with a DPV of N173,048,334.00; and 273 cartons of two litres of vegetable oil with a DPV of N9,801,000.00.
The unit also seized 1,089 pieces of machinery/mechanical appliances/parts, which had a DPV of N7,837,498.00 as well as 2,484 electrical/electronics/parts, whose DPV stood at N3,886,600 and 951 bales, 470 cartons and 18 sacks of other goods with DPV of N239,441,283.00.
This, the unit said was in contrast to the total seizure made in the preceding year (2015), which recorded N2,839,404,837, comprising a DPV of N2,709,807,437.00 and an underpayment recovered of N129,597,400.00.
Meanwhile Comptroller Mohammed has said the FOU zone ‘C’ would continue to strategize and re-strategize to bring smugglers, their agents and collaborators to their knees.
He regretted that the Federal Government had continued to lose huge revenue as a result of the unpatriotic activities of smugglers who are poised to acquire wealth through the short cut and warned such individuals to desist forthwith in their own interest.
The FOU Zone C boss also advised Nigerians not to use the global economic down turn as an excuse to ruin themselves and their families as the NCS would not entertain any sacred cow in its determination to make smuggling a thing of the past in the country.
Mohammed advised the youth to always preoccupy themselves with ideas and visions that could assist them realize their potentials as leaders of tomorrow instead of indulging in acts and conducts capable of impeding their success in life.
He advised Nigerians who are into genuine and legitimate business of buying and selling not to entertain any fear as the NCS would continue to be guided by the cardinal principle of justice, equity and fairness devoid of victimization or oppression in the discharge of her duties.
Also speaking to a correspondent of Newsanew online on the onslaught against smugglers in his area, the officer of the FOU Zone C in charge of the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha outstation, Ayo Onitiju , expressed a hundred per cent commitment of his team especially along the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha highway to challenge and burst every unwholesome movements having resemblance to smuggling.
Onitiju said his team in strict compliance with the zero tolerance gesture of the CGC, Col Hameed Ali (rtd)and the management team of FOU C led by Comptroller Uba Mohammed coupled with their provision of needed equipment has declared the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha Highway and its environ a no go area to smugglers, especially because their activities continue to portend great danger to our economy.
He advised those who rather than heed to government policies and directives on payment of fixed tariff on imported goods have made up their minds to continue the illicit business of smuggling to have a rethink and steer clear of the Asaba-Onitsha axis as they would be caught no matter their antics.