By Gboyega Oni
Contraband goods – cars, rice, bales of used cloth, used tyres, frozen chicken, containers and others – with the duty paid value of N1, 353, 617,104.08 were in the month of October, 2017 seized by the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos.
Comptroller Uba Mohammed, Controller of the Unit, disclosed this on Wednesday November 1 at Ikeja office of the unit while addressing the media on the seizures.
“The sized items, according to Mohammed, include 6,206 bags of foreign perboiled rice of 50kg each which is more than 10 trailers, 67 bales of secondhand clothing, 600 cartons of foreign poultry products, 13 parcels of Indian hemp, 405 pieces of used tyre, and 54 kegs of foreign vegetable oil.
“Similarly, two containers were also seized for contravening customs law. While one of the containers carried used fridges, 270 cartons of refined sun flower oil, 55 pieces of used gas compressors, 18 packs of juice, and other assorted items as against cooking declared in the SGD, the other container was carrying 147 bales of printed wax and 168 bales of lace materials as against new electronic declared in the SGD. These containers are seized for carrying contraband and entered under false declaration in order to beat the system contrary to the customs and excise law section 147.
“Also a 1×40 container suspected to be carrying prohibited goods is under detention.”
The Controller informed that 59 assorted vehicles were evacuated from car marts in Ikoyi among which over 40 were 2017 models of Toyota Prado Jeeps, Lexus Jeeps, Toyota Hilux, Camry, Coaster Bus, Hiace bus among others.
He said the vehicles are currently under detention while awaiting relevant customs documents from the dealers within a grace period of one month.
“Based on intelligence, our operatives trailed and evacuated 59 assorted vehicles from car marts in Ikoyi among which over 40 are 2017 models ranging from Toyota Prado Jeeps, Lexus Jeeps, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Camry, Coaster Bus, Toyota Hiace Bus among others currently under detention awaiting relevant customs document from the dealers within a grace period of one month. Some are even bullet proof which require end-user certificates from the Office of the National Security Adviser. Investigation will reveal further on those behind the clearance of these vehicles and must face the full wrath of the law. These vehicles alone have a duty paid value of One billion, seventy six million, eight hundred and ninety five thousand, seven hundred and seventy two naira, two kobo (N1,076,895,727.2) only.”
Comptroller Mohammed said that the Unit through interventions recovered one hundred and forty million, four hundred and thirty three thousand, five hundred and twenty four Naira (N144,433,524) from duty payments and demand notices on general goods that contravened law at seaports, airports and border stations.
While expressing gratitude to the Comptroller General of Customs for providing necessary logistics that brought about the feat, the FOU boss noted that six persons were arrested in connection with the 120 seizures, saying the Indian hemp would be handed over to Nationa Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further action.
He also attributed the feat to a renewed vigor and determination exhibited by officers and men of the unit to wage war against smuggling within the operational jurisdiction of the unit. He assured that this would be sustained and warned smugglers to desist or meet their Waterloo.