The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Roving Team of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Ikeja Zone “A” and the Controller General of Customs (CGC) compliance team has impounded (37) assorted vehicles with a duty paid value (DPV) of over One Billion, Three Hundred and Seventy Four Million, One Hundred and Twenty Two Thousand Nine Naira (N1,374,122,679.00) smuggled into the country through unapproved routes.
The successful anti-smuggling operations was carried out between Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd of August, 2017 based on credible information that led to the trailing and evacuation of the thirty (37) assorted vehicles which includes: Eight (8) Lexus Jeep LX 570 (2017 Model), Twelve (12) Land Cruiser Jeep (2017 Model), Seventeen (17) Toyota Hilux (2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 respectively).
On a similar note, the FOU zone “A” anti-smuggling operations has yielded interceptions of 12,081 bags of smuggled parboiled rice, bales of second hand clothing, cartoons of frozen products, parcels and sacks of Indian Hemp, Tramadols, used cars and tires, pieces of Iron folding chairs without sittings, 768 packages of wooding cabinet in different sizes and cartoons of Nabati cheese/chocolate water biscuits making a total DPV of N I,611,290,587.05 in one month (from Thursday 13th, July to Monday 7th, August, 2017).
The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hamid Ali, (rtd) while showcasing the seizures in lagos on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 said anti-smuggling fight is “a war that must be fought by every Nigerian” because of its capability of crippling our economy. He also enjoined the press to intensify more efforts in educating the public on the need to shun smuggling and patronage of smuggled, contrabands and sub-standard products.
“The war is for all patriotic Nigerians not customs alone because the deprivation is to the entire 180 million Nigerians and that is why whenever when we do major interceptions, we bring it to the notice of Nigerians to know what smuggling is doing to our economy in terms of damages looking at the level of sabotage” The CGC said.
The Comptroller General who reminded the public of the existing laws prohibiting land importation of Rice and Vehicles also stated that NCS officers might be left with no option than to use force to deal with any erring persons or threat that is intended to obstruct any officer in the discharge of his duties.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal government policies banning the importation of Rice and Vehicles through the land borders are still in force.
“In the face of security and economic challenges, no responsible Government will fold its hands while unpatriotic elements continue to engage in illegal activities that will further comprise national security and economic well-being of her people. NCS as one of the enforcement agencies of government will continue to work towards ensuring compliance.
“For those who use who use violence as instrument of intimidation, let it be known that going forward, NSC will not hesitate to use appropriate force to deal with any threat that is intended to obstruct performance of statutory function”. Compt. Ali said.
While calling for physical discipline and change of attitude among Nigerians, CGC Ali enjoined the public to report whoever is suspected to be a smuggler to the customs as he craved the indulgence of the people to the dangers posed by second hand clothing, hard drugs and other contrabands.
“People know them, they should expose them, we need information and you will see what we will do with the criminals.
“Nigeria has become the only dumping ground for used items. In Nigeria, you find used tires, vehicles, clothing, engines and many other expired items. Go to India and even our neighbouring countries, they will never tolerate that.” Ali said.
The Customs Boss who appreciated the Nigerian Armed Force for their “unquantifiable support” also thanked the FOU Ikeja, zone “A” Customs Area Controller Compt. Mohammed Uba Garba and the comptroller in charge of the compliance team “for effective coordination and collaborations of their officers to achieve the feat” and said issues of scanners have gotten to the Acting President, and it is being handled by the presidential committee on Ease Of Doing Business “by the quarter of next year (2018), the scanners should be ready”. He stated.