The Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Ikeja on Monday disclosed that its quest to enforce Customs laws, and fight against the activities of saboteurs that attempt to undermine and weaken the nation’s economy has led to the interception of smuggled goods worth over N1billion.
Prominent among the seized items include 9, 857 parcels (5, 338kg) of Cannabis Sativa said to have been smuggled into Nigeria through the creeks of Ajah in Lagos with a market value of N400 million.
Briefing journalists in Lagos, Acting Comptroller of the unit, Hussein Ejibunu said, “The intercepted smuggled items contravened various sections of our laws as part of our resolve to protect the well-being of citizens.”
Speaking on revenue the unit generated, he said “the sum of N38, 355, 362.88 was generated through conscious and thorough documentary checks, followed by the issuance of demand notices on consignments that were found to have paid lesser amounts than the appropriate customs duty.”
“Some of the wares were intercepted for either violating the guidelines on the importation and exportation of goods, concealment, undervaluation, wrong classification and smuggling. Others were seized for contravening policy directives as it is in the case of foreign parboiled rice.”
Hussein explained that “detentions and seizures recorded within the period under review amounted to 79 seizures, with a total duty paid value of N1, 025,905,110 are products of surveillance, intelligence gathering and regular patrols. These were intercepted at different times and locations within border corridors of the South-West Zone.”
Notable among the seizures were 6,861 X 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 12 trailer loads), 236 jerry cans X 25 litres (30,900 litres) of petroleum, 9, 857 parcels (5,338 kg) of cannabis sativa, 2 X 20 of unprocessed wood, 4 units of used vehicles (Tokunbo), 40 X 5 jerry cans of vegetable oil and 54 bales of second hand clothing.
“Four suspects were arrested in connection with some of the intercepted goods. For ongoing prosecution of suspects, the Federal High Court at Abeokuta-Ogun, sentenced Musa Oloyede, Fishing Godwin David and Adeniyi Alaye, to two years imprisonment for assaulting our officers while carrying out their statutory duties.”
He said further that “Consequent to the social effect of cannabis sativa on the youths, it becomes very worrisome that a total of 9,857 parcels were seized in a single swoop. Crime experts have found a direct relationship between the intake of this controlled plant and violent crimes. We are conscious of this challenge and will continually cut the supply chain of illicit drugs and other prohibited substances.
“I want to urge all patriotic Nigerians to promptly share useful information with our operatives that will assist to checkmate the menace of smuggling. Since smuggling is a crime that deals in illegal trade, such as illicit drugs and prohibited weapons, Nigerians should see insecurity and other crimes as products of smuggling. The perpetrators should be considered as common enemies of the land that must be jointly fought by all citizens.”