John Iwori

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos has stepped up its anti-smuggling campaign as it made more seizures worth over N2 billion.

In the same vein, it has arrested no fewer than five persons in connection with the interception of the contraband.

Among several other items, the seizures include 16 exotic vehicles mostly 2017 model, 7,201 bags of foreign parboiled rice (12 trailers), 1,172 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1,352 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 72 bales of used clothing, 464 pieces of used tyres, 407 sacks of Pangolin scales, and 629 pieces of textile material popularly called Ankara.

The seizures made by the service include contraband with a duty paid value (DPV) of N2.5 billion. The seizures were made from 1 to 19 March, 2018.

These were disclosed by the NCS, Customs Area Controller (CAC), FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, Comptroller Mohammed Garba Uba while giving an overview of the unit activities in the period under review.

Describing smugglers as “economic saboteurs”, Uba said his officers and men would not relent until they succeed in the battle against smugglers in the South West geo-political zone.

Uba stated that the items seized by the NCS was sequel to what he called “an intensive onslaught on dare devil smugglers deploying our tactical operational modalities”.

Other seizures include 8 trucks laden with 3,351 bags of rice and 669 jerry cans of vegetable oil along Iseyin, Oyo/Osun axis.

According to the CAC, officers and men of the service also evacuated 1,253 bags of rice 50kg each from a warehouse in Ogbomosho, Oyo State based on credible intelligence despite resistance. You will recall that the ban on the importation of foreign rice through the land was to encourage efficiency in local production.  Therefore, the need to support the Federal Government policy on rice, encourage local rice farmers, the millers and patronize our own nutritional rice cannot be over emphasized.

He also revealed that the detained vehicles include two Lexus Jeep (RS350 2016,2017 model), 1 Rolls Royce, one Lincoln Limousine (2014), three Toyota Camry (2009, 2013 and 2017 models), one Toyota Rav 4, one Toyota Avalon (2016) one Toyota Tundra, one Dodge among others .

“These 16 exotic vehicles alone have a duty paid value of N340.7 million. While six vehicles were evacuated based on intelligence along Lekki Epe Expressway, the remaining 10 were intercepted while on information patrol at various locations. The vehicles are still under detention pending the grace period allowed for the owners to bring relevant customs documents.

“Also, 407 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 10,263kg were evacuated from an apartment at 64 Opebi Road, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos within the weeks under review with a duty paid value of N2, 094, 243, 456.69. In the spirit of inter-agency cooperation, the pangolin scales and the suspect will be handed over to Nigeria Environment Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for further investigation in collaboration towards protecting our natural habitat and protecting our endangered species”, he said.

He gave the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retired) and the entire management team of the NCS a pat on the back for the strides the FOU Zone ‘A’ has made in the period under review.

Uba explained that the appreciation letter Ali gave his office and the logistics provided made a huge difference in the feat recorded by the service.

“We are very determined to ensure sustenance of this laudable sterling performance by making sure we give economic saboteurs a run for their money”, he added.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here