The Federal Operations Unit (FOU Zone A) of the Nigeria Customs Service, has seized contraband goods with duty paid value (DPV) of N356million.
The items which were intercepted between August 29 and October 3 include 11 used vehicles, 4,227 bags of foreign parboiled rice, foreign frozen poultry products and vegetable oil.
Other items were Indian Hemp, medicaments, used tyres, scrap metals, wet blue, electric cables, unprocessed wood, bales of used clothing and shoes.
Comptroller Mohammed Uba, the Controller of the command, while briefing the media said the items were intercepted based on tip off.
“Based on information, we trailed and evacuated 3000 bags of smuggled rice from 10 houses along waterside in Ere Village of Ado-Odo Local Government of Ogun State. Each of these houses has three exits doors for their nefarious activities. As we were evacuating the rice from one house to the other, the villagers were also busy packing the rice to the bush through other exit. That is to tell you the extent some people take risk while indulging in smuggling. They see smuggling as a way of life and an inherited business”. Uba said
Further, he said that the Customs operatives were able to make the seizure with the support of the military from 9 Brigade Nigerian Army Ikeja. And that 11 seized vehicles include two Lexus Jeep GX460 and RX330, one Toyota Rav4, two Toyota Camry, 5 Mercedes Benz and one IVECO Truck (Tanker), ranging from 2007 to 2013 models respectively.
In the same vein, the Controller said that the 11 assorted vehicles alone have a duty paid value of N125,403,598.5.
“We have 17 assorted vehicles in detention of various models. The vehicles were evacuated from car marts due to infractions noticed in their documents. As I speak with you, they have not been able to provide relevant customs documents on some yet but we have given them enough room to provide them. The vehicles under detention have a duty paid value of N141,877,496.15”
The Customs also seized 14 containers with a duty paid value (DPV) of N104,684,023.2 for false declaration and breach of customs law
Among the containers were 7 with unprocessed wood, one carrying scrap metals and another one carrying wet blue for exports which all fall under export prohibition list.
Three of the seized Containers were medicaments without appropriate import documents and certification while two containers were carrying made in Nigeria cables but imported from China, and declared as electric distribution board and ballast, according to the Area Controller of the command.
He said that in the spirit of inter-agency collaboration; the seized Indian hemp, the medicaments and the cables will be handed over to NDLEA, NAFDAC, and SON for thorough investigation.
He also disclosed that 8 suspects have been arrested in connection with the 128 seizures, adding that there were 12 trials at Supreme Court, court of Appeal and Federal High Court respectively.
Comptroller Mohammed explained that while three were criminal cases, nine were civil cases and one is convicted and sentenced to seven (7) years imprisonment.
He said that within the period under review, the Unit recovered N39,423,836.75 making a cumulative of N395,628,887.53.
The Controller was full of thanks to the Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and the entire management team for providing necessary logistics that made the seizures possible.