Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, Owerri has announced its seizure of seventeen (17) prohibited items and recovery of 21 underpayments totalling one hundred and ninety-four million, six hundred and fifty-six thousand , eight hundred and fifty-five naira (N194,656,855.00) in the month of January.
A breakdown of the figure show that the overall Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the seized items is one hundred and twenty-two million, two hundred and eighty-two thousand, two hundred and twenty-two naira (N122,282,220.00) while the recovered underpayment is seventy-two million,three hundred and seventy-four thousand, six hundred and thirty-five naira (N72,374,635.00).
The Customs Area Controller in charge of the FOU “C” Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba made the disclosure to newsmen as he showcased the seized items at the premises of the Customs Warehouse Enugu.
Mohammed said that eighteen (18) suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures which took place along Owerri, Benin, Enugu and Calabar axis.
He listed the items to include nine (9) vehicles worth N35,900,920.00 ; 382 pieces of foreign smuggled used tyres valued at N6,288,000.00 and 3,077 bags of 50kg foreign rice estimated at N80,093,300.00 .
Comptroller Mohammed displaying some seized second hand tyres to newsmen.
The Customs boss used the occasion to enumerate the dangers and the implications of the usage and consumption of the seized items in question by unsuspecting members of the public.
According to Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, rice smuggling aside depressing the nation’s economy by reducing government’s revenue, stifles domestic rice industries in addition to distorting supply and consumption data usually applied by the government as references for sound policy planning.
He also justified government ban on used tyres stressing that such items from the more advance nations of the world are compressed and discarded for use in their countries of manufacture, but later find their way into the country as a result of the activities of the smugglers who in turn sell them to members of the public because of their perceived cheap prices.
Mohammed Uba warned those who are still trapped in the illicit business of smuggling despite the obvious implications to purge themselves of these obnoxious businesses which is detrimental to the nation’s economy, their own lives and the society at large.
He noted that the unbridled use of imported second hand tyres has continued to wreck havoc on the nation’s highway with many lives being lost and others seriously injured.
He advised members of the public with unquenchable appetite, interest and desire for foreign prohibited materials to quickly purge themselves of this in their own interest, regretting that many families have been ruined as a result of this.
Comptroller Mohammed Uba made it clear that the NCS would ever remain steadfast and sincere in its resolution to ensure that no prohibited item gets across the nation’s borders, assuring that the service is now more than ever fortified, trained, mobilized and motivated to meet its challenges.
Mohammed Uba pointed out that the NCS is not interested in witch-hunting or victimizing anybody, group or association who are into legitimate business of importing and exporting but would not entertain any sacred cow involved in any foul play in the import and export business.