By Oyeniyi Iwakun
In what appears like a renewed revolution in anti-smugling battle, and clear deviation from “business as usual”, and old ways of doing things, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Muhammed Garba Uba has promised to begin public showcase of suspects and conniving customs officers alongside seizures starting from December 2017.
This historic disclosure was made in reaction to questions from MMS Plus on the need to bring to public view, customs corrupt officers and others arrested in connection with the various seizures.
The customs boss assured during a press briefing and showcase of seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over 1.3 Billion naira at the command in Lagos on Wednesday, 1st November, 2017 that he would go beyond mere media display of the seizures next month as those nabbed in connection with the act would be shown to world in order to serve as deterrence to others. He further explained that his command doesn’t just seize consignments without acting on intelligent information but would have followed and ascertained the veracity of such intelligence report.
“If not that the person in charge of legal issues isn’t here now, I would have asked him to go and bring the suspects out so that we show them to you but I assure you that by next briefing in December anybody arrested would be brought out for the press to see.
“As for our officers, I will want you to see the Public Relations Officer (PRO), we have a monthly order that contains the details of disciplined officers, if you see the number of officers that have been dismissed on various offences. You will know that the NCS is not keeping quiet” he said
The Comptroller who assured of his command’s continuous efforts in ensuring that smuggling activities is suppressed to the barest minimum said smuggling in its wider definition is not limited to illegal importation of contrabands alone but includes any attempt to evade payment or produce genuine evidence of correct duty payments as well as wrong declaration which had been unhealthy to our economy in Nigeria.
“the NCS, FOU Zone A in particular will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that all revenue leakages are blocked and that the economic sabourours are brought to book while we shall continue to ensure that there is conducive atmosphere for legitimate trade transactions” Comptroller Garba said
When questioned on how the previous cases of arrested suspects had been treated, he said they had been charged to court for necessary action and some of them had been convicted while others are still facing trial.
“We will continue to arrest, we have a legal team in charge and when they are arrested they are transferred because we don’t detain people more than 24hrs. So we charge them to court for prosecution. I know of one that has been sentenced to jail and some others are still in court.” he said.
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