By Chinonye Anyatonwu
The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted smuggled military camouflage, petroleum products, and other items valued at N517,918,790 in Lagos and Ogun State respectively.
Acting Controller of the FOU Zone ‘A’ command, Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu while addressing newsmen during a press conference in Lagos recently, said the smuggled military wares seized in January were in 68 pieces while the petroleum products is 47,750 litres of premium motor spirit.
According to Ejibunu, the unit arrested eleven smugglers in connection with the seizures which out of four have been jailed by the Federal High Court waiting for trial.
He said the unit intercepted 2,135 wraps, of Indian Hemp weighing 1,163kg.
Other seizures made by the unit in January 2023 includes 5,481 units of 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, equivalent to over 9 trailer loads; 314 pieces of used tyres; 11 units of used motorcycles; 13 units of used vehicles and 450 units of 106 kg drums of carbide on detention.
Ejibunu told the newsmen that the goods were intercepted along the border corridors of the South-West for contravening customs laws.
According to him, the seized cannabis sativa however have been handed over to an official of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Receiving the contrabands, the Assistant Commandant, Narcotics, Moshood Ibrahim Aluko, said the agency would do its best to cover up the black spots that aids these consignments in coming into the country.
“From what the Controller said there is a black spot everywhere we have to start, track and educate them. The volume is too much and we don’t expect much to be in circulation.
We are grateful to Customs if not if this size of cannabis is found in the system it is not good, it can lead to mental disorders,” he said.
While speaking on the havoc that could have been caused if these offending items had been allowed into the Nigerian society, the customs boss said,
“Considering the spate of insecurity across the country, and the upcoming general elections, it can be postulated that the importation of Indian Hemp, and military wares could be used to fuel crimes and electoral violence by unpatriotic elements.
While the former is under prohibition, the latter are under the control of the National Security Adviser, which requires End- User Certificates.
He added that the customs services has re-strategized its operations and officers are urged to be more professional and have keyed into the Service’s Standard Operations Procedure (SOP); aimed at facilitating legitimate trade.
“In doing this, we assure all compliant traders and importers that they have nothing to fear. While the recalcitrant ones are advised to desist because we are better mobilized with high morale to arrest, prosecute, and make them lose their wares in forfeiture to the federal government.
“Members of the public are hereby, enjoined to key into the prevailing security concerns by providing useful, and timely information that would expose and lead to the arrest of the enemies of the state,” he said.
The Controller said N86,117,398.50 was recovered as revenue from the unit into the federation account through the issuance of demand notices (DN) on Customs duties that were discovered to be underpaid by importers.
“Seizures recorded in January 2023 are a reflection of officers commitment to duty, and no compromise posture in the discharge of our statutory responsibilities, aimed at protecting the national economy and preventing the importation of prohibited and harmful goods,” he said.
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