The Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) Western Marine Command has acquired four patrol boats to boost Anti smuggling efforts on the waterways.
The Command also recorded 15 incidents of seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N110.2 million, in the first quarter of 2023.
The Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Comptroller Oduadu Salefu, who disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday said two of them are gunboats.
Salefu said that in total seven boats have been procured for the command and that three other watercrafts are being expected to also arrive from the manufacturer soon.
The Controller said that the two existing boats of the command; MV Group of Nine and MV Customs Pride are currently undergoing repairs and would soon be deployed to complement the new ones.
Salefu noted that some of the personnel from the command are currently undergoing training with the Nigerian Navy on maritime safety and security adding that the service has continued to train and retrain officers and men on seafaring activities.
Giving details of the seizures, Salefu said these includes; 1,519 bags of 50kg-size foreign parboiled rice; 8,825 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) contained in 468 kegs of 25 liters each.
Others are; 700 pairs of foreign-used shoes; 20 used foreign ladies’ bags; 88 cartons of Caro White Cream (beaching cream), 50 pairs of expired tyres, 3 Outboard boat engines and one water pumping machine.
Salefu disclosed that five suspects were arrested within the period but have been granted administrative bail pending when charges will be proffered against them in court.
He said: “In line with the responsibilities conferred on the NCS by the provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria LFN 2004 as amended, the command continues to suppress smuggling along the South-Western waterways and Creeks.
“All actions of our operatives are in line with the provisions of Sections 149 (Power to vehicles/ship) and 158 (Power to patrol freely) of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the importation of foreign parboiled rice, HS Code 1006.30.1000, is restricted in Nigeria by the Federal government since March 2016.
“Any improper importation of foreign rice, contrary to allowed trade route restriction, is liable to forfeiture, further to section 46 of the Customs and Excise Management Act(CEMA) Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended,” he stated.