The Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone ‘A’ in Ikeja Lagos of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has seized rice and other prohibited cargoes valued at over N10 billion for the year 2023.
According to the Comptroller of the Zone, Controller Hussain Ejubunu, the Zone made a total of 1,119 seizures with a total duty value of N10.395 billion for the year 2023.
Ejubunu also said that the most prominent of the seizures is foreign parboiled rice which amounted to 139 trailer loads (83,170 bags of 50kg).
He explained that the seizure comprised vehicles, marijuana, tramadol, used tyres, poultry products, footwear, petroleum products etc.
The most prominent of the seizures is foreign parboiled rice which amounted to 139 trailer loads (83,170 bags of 50kg).
He said: “We aim to discourage Nigerians from participating in any form of smuggling activity either as sponsors, couriers, informants or other forms of enablers.
“As a unit charged with anti-smuggling function in the South West Zone, overseeing an area with international borders, busiest airport in Nigeria, and the two largest seaports in the country, FOU Zone A area of responsibility is indeed wide.
“With the morale and logistics support from the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, we were able to prosecute the fight against smuggling diligently by making seizures, effecting arrests and collecting revenue for the government in the course of discharging our functions.
“The report of our seizures and arrests being given to you today attests to the relentless and uncompromising enforcement we deployed in the fight against smuggling in 2023. It is indeed a fallout of the positive energy and selflessness we displayed in the course of our work.
“Last year we made 1,119 seizures worth a total duty paid value of N10,395,123,943; comprising of rice, vehicles, marijuana, tramadol, used tyres, poultry products, footwear, petroleum products etc. The most prominent of the seizures is foreign parboiled rice which amounted to 139 trailer loads (83,170 bags of 50kg).
“A breakdown of other seizures include
13,706 kegs by 25 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS 8,372 Kg of Indian Hemp 2,942 pieces of tyres 2,153 bales of used clothes 3,095 cartons of frozen poultry
320 cartons of illicit drugs, 15 pieces of bulletproof jackets, 15 pieces of jack knives, and 68 pieces of military camouflage.
Others are 450 drums by 106 kg of carbide, 1 X 40 ft and 2 X 20 ft containers found to contain charcoal, 132 units of foreign used vehicles
“A total number of 136 persons were arrested at various points within our area of responsibility. They were suspected to be smugglers, and after due diligence of uncompromising profiling and investigation, they were charged to court and are at different stages of prosecution.
“16 people were convicted through the Federal High Courts for committing offences of improper importation, assault of Customs officers, being in possession of foreign parboiled rice and for being in possession of Pangolin scales meant for export.
“Some other smuggling-related cases instituted in the courts are at various stages of prosecution and would be followed up diligently. This year 2024, we shall continue, through our legal seat, to follow all pending court cases to logical conclusions.
“The unit was able to recover a total of N851,719,905.01 as revenue through meticulous document checking. We were able to identify shortfalls in duty payments from which demand notices were issued and accurate revenue was recovered. These are revenues that would have been lost by the federal government to the pockets of some compliant businessmen.
“I want to reiterate that our battle to prevent smuggling will be intensified this year as we have contravened the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. If they don’t desist from their criminal ways, this year will be tougher for them because they will lose their investments and freedom when arrested.
“Let me put on record that we shall lawfully arrest and prosecute any individual involved in the attack of our officers who are discharging their legitimate responsibilities. No attacker of our personnel will be spared from facing the full wrath of the law.”