The Federal Operations Unit, (FOU) Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in its determination to stem smuggling of prohibited goods into the country has performed yet another feat as it has seized a total of 29 prohibited items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,074,099,739.00,and arrested 18 suspects in the month of November.
The FOU Zone C under the supervision of Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba within the same month through the eagle eye of its officers discovered and recovered underpayment on certain impounded items to the tune of over #54 million.
Customs Area Controller in charge of the unit, Mohammed Uba Garba made the declaration of the seizures formally while briefing newsmen at the premises of the Imo/Aba Customs Command in Owerri and the Government warehouse in Benin where the seized items were being kept .
The Customs boss gave a breakdown of the seizures to include 2,522 bags of 50 kg foreign rice, 61,333 cartons of imported foreign poultry products, 720 cartons of foreign vegetable oil, 1,618 cartons and 1,466 pieces of furniture, 269 pieces of second hand tyres.
Other impounded items are 59 cartons and 1,964 pieces of spare parts, 39 pieces of used compressors, 29 bales of second hand clothing as well as 480 pairs of used shoes and 9 vehicles of assorted types.
Mohammed expressed fulfilment in the fact that his officers and men were in the South East and South-south geopolitical zones of the country contributing their quota in the protection of the nations economy by waging unrelenting war against these saboteurs .
He pointed out a new dimension to rice smuggling, as he disclosed that many of the bags of the seized 50kg foreign rice were cleverly re-bagged and re-labeled by the smugglers to beat security check points on the roads and to give the false semblance of locally produced ones.
Comptroller Mohammed assured that because the ban on the importation of furniture and rice was meant to encourage public patronage and consumption of the locally produced ones to further boost the nation’s economy, his unit will doggedly continue to do its best to abide with extant laws in that direction.
The Custom boss also drew the public attention to how some items such as body sprays were criminally used to conceal other unauthorized imported seized items.
Speaking on seized second hand tyres, he lamented that accidents continued to occur on the nation’s highways as a result of the rampant use of second hand tyres being imported by smuggler.
He said that the arrested 18 suspects were already undergoing interrogation and those found culpable amongst them would definitely be charged to court.
“Let me state clearly that it is simply not enough to inform you about the seizures and its DPV, what is of paramount importance is that we are implementing government’s policies that would boost our economic growth and provide employment”, he stated
The Customs boss however made it clear that his men were not out to frustrate individuals who are into genuine business but are only interested to facilitate legitimate trade, stressing that those in illegitimate business have nothing to fear as the Nigeria Customs Service is poised to detect, arrest and prosecute only those who fail to comply with the relevant positions of the law.
He appealed to members of the public with useful information about smugglers, their agents and collaborators to make such information available to the Nigeria Customs Service or to other sister agencies for necessary action.