The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, has arrested 14 suspects in connection with the smuggling of 16 truck-load of foreign parboiled rice and 41,950 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) worth N818 million.
He stressed that the unit also intercepted various goods for different offences, ranging from accurate duty payment evasion, concealment, under declaration, false declaration and transfer of value along with the ports and border corridors.
Ejibunu listed the goods to include, 812 X 5Kg and 120 X 2kg bags of basmati rice; 116.3 kilograms of Indian hemp; 4X20 ft containers of unprocessed wood; 1,041 bales of used clothes; five units of vehicles; 8,500 pieces of used tyres; 599 cartons of frozen poultry products; 29 units of motorcycles; 54 cartons of creams; 42 units of Tiger generators and 3,260 pairs of used shoes.
According to the controller, the high desire by the majority of Nigerians to consume foreign parboiled rice has a nexus with the number of smugglers scrambling to import the product in large quantities.
He said following this desire, officers of the unit were on high alert along with the ports and the border corridors, to ensure the national economy is protected from the activities of recalcitrant importers and traders.
“In a renewed vigor to fight the menace of smuggling, the unit had re-strategised its operations to block revenue leakages and to curb the import/export of prohibited goods.
“ While undertaking this great task, we employed the use of intelligence and meticulous documentary checks to recover the noticeably lost revenues, intercepted goods suspected to have contravened Customs laws and seized those that fall under the prohibition lists,” he said.
Ejibunu further noted that checks on some already released cargoes with duties under paid, were reviewed and demand notices issued, thereby ensuring N64 million was paid as revenue into the Federal Government coffers.
He, however, thanked citizens for providing information that led to the seizure of some un-conspicuous concealments, while appealing to Nigerians to support and key into the Federal Government’s policy aimed at supporting the growth of the local industry.