The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has seized 37 vehicles with estimated value of about N1, 374, 122, 679. 00 (One billion, three hundred and seventy four million, one hundred and twenty two thousand, six hundred and seventy nine naira, no kobo).
According to the Comptroller General of the Service, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.) while disclosing this aftermath of the inspection at the Training School, Ikeja said that the vehicles which were intercepted among others, came through unapproved routes.
The Customs boss who gave an insight to how the items could not beat the Command’s Roving Team Eagled Eyed also highlights the statistical breakdown of the vehicles which includes; 8 Lexus Jeep LX 2017 Model, 12 Land Cruiser Jeep 2017 Model and 17 Toyota Hilux 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 Models.
Ali however, emphasised that12,081 bags of parboiled rice with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N149,007,658 smuggled through the unapproved routes were seized alongside others.
Giving the details of how the seizures were made, said that, ” between Wednesday 2nd August and Thursday 3rd August, 2017, the CGC Compliance Team and the Roving Team of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A, through an intelligence report trailed the smugglers and seized 37 assorted vehicles smuggled through the illegal routes coming into the country.
“Therefore, other consignments impounded by the “The strong Team of the CGC Compliance Anti-Smuggling operatives, are,156 assorted brands of vehicles as well as bales of used clothing, Indian Hemp and Tyres”, respectively.
He pointed out that the the containers laden with assorted items which allegedly came from China documentation were made at the nation’s seaports, stressing that the service will unravel any of his officers found culpable in illegal transactions, shall be duly punished and handed over to the law.
We are not relenting on our investigations leading to the release of the intercepted consignments. Most times, this things do occur so therefore we can not wish them away, and due to our vigorous training, re-training and profiling, we have done a preliminary investigation by our experts, which were discovered to be imported from China. So, when we conclude final investigations, we will give you in details exactly where they were coming from. Our suspicion is that this is where the preponderance of the imports of this nature come from”, he explained.
He added further that,suspects leading to the seizures were arrested and detained till final investigation into the issue is concluded in order not to punish the innocent, but the main culprits.
Ali debunked rumours on media reports in recent times that the ban on the importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders have been lifted, noting that the ban is still in force, and advised Nigerians to disregard such unwarranted rumours, because it is the plan of mischievous people .
“It is an evidence that the federal government restriction of the importation of rice and vehicular through the land borders are still in force. Nigeria Customs Service remains resolute in its determination to enforce these government policies. The service will ensure it work towards frustrating smugglers and make them regrets the loss of their huge invested money, he assured.
He warned that in the face of insecurity and economic challenges, no responsible government would fold its arms while unpatriotic elements and saboteurs to continue in illegal trade0 that would further compromise national economic and security well-being of her people.
Saying affirmatively, that,” Customs as one of the enforcement institutions of government in the country, it will work and ensure the realization of total compliance with all extant laws inline with imports and exports in Nigeria.
He said that violence used as instrument of intimidation, would not be held with kid gloves, so let it be known that, Nigeria customs service operatives will not hesitate to use appropriate force to curb any threat that is intended to obstruct performance of statutory functions”.