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Customs FOU A Arrests 29 Suspects, Seizes N2.87bn Worth Of Contrabands In 3 Months


The Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has announced the arrest of 29 suspected smugglers and seizure of contraband items worth N2.87billion in the first quarter of 2024.

Speaking to journalists in Lagos, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, said the seizures were due to violations of various sections of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, the Federal Government Import and Export Prohibition guidelines.

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IMG 20240406 WA0029Giving a breakdown of the seizures, Ejibunu said within the period i 21 trucks load of foreign parboiled rice, 40 units of used vehicles, 286 cartons of rubber slippers; 1,220 cartons of foreign tomato paste; 2,705 kegs of premium motor spirit; 3,510 pieces of pneumatic used tyres; 330 bales of used clothes and 2,230 kg of Indian Hemp were among the seized items

Others include 1,569 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products; 365 cartons of unmarked drugs; 104 units of Haojuo Motorcycle and 566 cartons of smuggled slippers.

IMG 20240406 WA0039He further stated that the command made a revenue recovery of N305.3million, representing 67% collection of the unit’s target.

Ejibunu who showed some seized unregistered pharmaceutical products to journalists, added that such medicines are capable of causing death because the importets are avoiding lawful regulation which ensures compliance with laid down standards.

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IMG 20240406 WA0035The Controller also showed high profile used vehicles intercepted from smugglers in different areas around the South West zone

“Seizures recorded in the 1st quarter of 2024 were due to violations of various sections of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, the federal government import and export prohibition guidelines. While vigorously and relentlessly executing our anti-smuggling campaign, a total of 206 seizures were made worth the sum of duty paid value of N2,877,049,777 while 29 suspects were arrested.

IMG 20240406 WA0031“Revenue recovery made within the period under review was N305,310,010.44 this represents 67% collection of the N455,202,073.97 revenue target for the year 2024,” Ejibunu said.

The Customs boss who also bemoaned attack on officers of the unit by smugglers in Oyo State, warned hoodlums to be weary of the legal consequences of their actions when caught.

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While condemning smuggling as an economic vice, Ejibunu also described the illegal trade as an act that puts the lives of citizens in danger and should be discouraged at all times by every patriotic Nigerian

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“Just recently, officers of this Unit were carrying out their legitimate duties when they were being shot at by some armed men suspected to be smugglers along Igbori Village, in Oyo State.

“Although some of the officers in the patrol team sustained injuries, but the assailants were repelled with superior fire power. Armed non-state actors should beware of the legal consequences of their actions when caught.

“We shall never be distracted or deterred by their antics, the rules of engagement would be fully invoked in compliance with the Service’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to counter any attack on officers,” Ejibunu stated.

 

“Smuggling impacts society negatively by short-changing the economy through tax evasion, affects public health and safety, distorts the balance of fair business competitiveness, and also serves as an instrument for the achievement of other criminal activities.

“Smuggling can lead to compromised personal safety because it exposes individuals to various risks that include; dealing with dangerous individuals, illegal substances, and working in unsafe conditions,” Ejibunu added.

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He however stressed that by complying with all relevant regulations and laws, importers and traders can steer clear of costly fines and penalties that may arise as a consequences of non-compliance.

He emphasised that such compliance enhances good reputation, demonstrates reliability, and trustworthiness that ensures smooth Customs and other statutory regulatory clearance procedures.

“This in turn reduces delays and potential disruptions in the supply chain.

“Interestingly, compliant importers are eligible to access the Service’s preferential treatment through preferential trade programmes such as the fast track, the advance ruling, and the Authorize Economic Operators (AEO) programme.

“It is a programme that allows all compliant economic operators involved in the international movement of goods to apply for AEO status while the focus is maintained on high-risk operators and the facilitation of legitimate trade,” Ejibunu said.



Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600, hubitokoria@gmail.com

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