Customs Seizes Smuggled Rice and Petrol Worth N4.02 Billion in Lagos and Ogun
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, disclosed that, it intercepted 62 trucks load of foreign parboiled rice and 218,575 litres of premium Motor Spirit also known as Petrol worth N4.02billion smuggled into the country from neighbouring Benin Republic.
The contrabands that were seized in the last 6 months from various smugglers’ hideouts in Lagos, Ogun include: 14,015 parcels of Indian Hemp; 1,064 bales of used clothing; 450 drums of carbide; 2 containers of unprocessed wood and 1,448 pieces of foreign rugs.
Others are: 30 units of used motorcycles; 44 units of foreign used vehicles; 860 cartons of foreign poultry products and 833 pieces of used tyres.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP after a press briefing in Ikeja, the acting Customs Area Controllers (CAC), Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, said the seizures were intercepted in the last six months.
He further stated that, they were seized in the South Western part of the country, saying, the foreign parboiled rice were ferried through bush paths using motorcycles and rickety vehicles as means of conveyance.
He said: “within the first six months of the year, our activities resulted in a high volume and value of seizures with some suspects arrested. We also succeeded in preventing the entry of dangerous or harmful substances like illicit drugs into the society.
“Our strategic intervention also achieved recovery of revenue through the issuance of demand notices to complete underpaid duties into the federal government coffers that were being evaded by some importers and their agents.
“For the period under review, we made 580 seizures with a duty-paid value of N4,022,960,075. We also arrested 60 suspects and recovered a total of N400,599,515.66 as revenue through the issuance of demand notices.
“We wish to express our profound gratitude to sister security agencies for their unflinching synergy in the course of our operations; special mention to the Department of State Security Services- Oyo State Command for the arrest of a notorious suspect that was on the wanted list for attack on a Customs patrol team escorting exhibits. Interestingly, this suspect was arrested and handed over to the Unit yesterday.
“Prominent among the seizures is rice which amounts to 36,742 X 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice equivalent to 62 trucks load. Some of them were ferried through bush paths using motorcycles and rickety vehicles as means of conveyance.”
Ejibunu, however, disclosed that, in the second half of the year, anti-smuggling fight will be fiercely enforced.
He also advised the trading public to be abreast of import and export prohibition list, saying, ignorance won’t be an excuse.
“Let me reiterate that for the second half of 2023, our onslaught against smugglers will be fiercer with a renewed determination to uncover them using intelligence-backed enforcement. We shall get recalcitrant traders and their agents arrested and prosecuted in addition to seizing their wares.
“At this point, members of the trading community are advised to further embrace compliance and shun any act that would place them on the wrong side of the law. We advise them to keep themselves abreast of the import and export prohibition lists because claims of ignorance will not suffice as an excuse whenever they are caught,” he pointed out.