Customs Arrests 103 Smugglers, Seizes 77 Trailers of Rice, Valued At ₦7.1bn In 6 Months

Hyacinth Chinweuba

The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Federal Operations Unit A has disclosed that it has 103 suspected smugglers and seized smuggled items worth a total sum of N7.1bn within the first six months of the year.

The Acting Controller of the unit, Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu who disclosed this in Lagos at a press briefing on the half year activities of the unit added that the seizures including 77 trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice.

According to him, he is determined to continually seize smuggled items, arrest suspects and frustrate them out of their illicit business.

The breakdown of the seized items within the period under review as presented by the unit boss are as follows: 45,928 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each, equivalent to 77 trailer loads; 265,830 litres of Premium Motor Spirit; 2,933 bales of used clothes ; 233 cartons of Tramadol (225mg each) and 83 packs of 225mg and 65 units of used vehicles.

Other items include, 14,784 pieces of used tyres ;119 units of used motorcycles and 3,659.05 kg of Indian hemp.

DC Ejibunu thanked the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali for his support to the unit through logistics and other mode of motivation.

According to him, efforts have been activated to provide additional storage space for seizures through request for increased Authority to Incure Expenses (AIE) as some office space like the correspondence office have been converted for rice storage.

“Successes recorded in the anti-smuggling drives are products of sustained vigilance and intelligence deployment within the ports and border corridors. Thirdly, I must also commend personnel’s Professionalism in compliance with the extant regulations.

“On the whole, the entire success of the Unit is premised on the improved logistics supplied by the management of the Service Headquarters, inter-agency collaboration with sister security agencies, esteemed stakeholders, as well as patriotic citizens for providing useful and timely information”, he said.

The Comptroller used the occasion to remind the business community that “although some of the land borders were reopened; it is worthy of note to be reminded and to know that, they were reopened for legitimate businesses. Importers, agents and the general public are enjoined to be acquainted with the t federal government fiscal policies, Customs extant regulations as well as the import and export prohibition lists for proper guidance”.

The unit as disclosed collected the sum of N577, 853, 457.96, (Five Hundred and Seventy-seven Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty-three Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty-seven Naira, Ninety-six Kobo) was collected as revenue derived from underpayments.

In his closing statement he said, “We shall continue to facilitate legitimate and compliant traders to grow our local economy, while we sustain deliberate efforts aimed at frustrating recalcitrant traders; as seen in the volume of seizures displayed”

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