Seme Customs Collects ₦1.1b Revenue, Arrests 13 Smuggling Suspects in 2 Months

... As Comptroller Bomodi Assures of Secure Border

The Seme Border Command of Nigeria Customs Service has collected a total of ₦1,160,988,897.30 as revenue for January and February 2024 and has arrested 13 suspected smugglers in the course of its anti smuggling operations.

Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Timi Bomodi who disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday, also said the command made seizures worth ₦365,888,696 in the first two months of 2024

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Giving a juxtapose of the revenue collected with the actual target, Comptroller Bomodi said The Command was given a target of N7.875 Billion Naira to collect in the current year.

Bomodi also reiterated customs assurances of a secure border to curtail the activities of criminal elements.

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According to him,the command In January 2024, the collected ₦643,038,611.16, while in February, we collected ₦517,950,286.14 making a total of ₦1,160,988,897.30 which represents about 88% of the Total expected revenue for the two months

He added that the shortfall in expected collections can be attributed to the decline in imports occasioned by the high exchange rate.

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On anti smuggling, Comptroller Bomodi said the command made seizires worth a total duty paid value of₦365,888,696 within the two months . He listed rice, vehicles, narcotics, petroleum products and other items among the seizures made

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He said “Between January and February 2024, the Command successfully made 168 interventions which resulted in the seizure of 2,193 bags of 50kg (3 trailer load equivalent) foreign parboiled rice, 81,930 liters (3 tankers equivalent), 9 vehicles, 1425 General merchandise, 265 parcels of cannabis sativa and other narcotics, 149 pkg of codeine and 2 locally manufactured guns. All with a combined Duty Paid Value ₦365,888,696.00.

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“A total of Thirteen (13) suspects were arrested in connection with these seizures, Six of them were granted administrative bail, three were handed over to NDLEA for further agency action, One was handed over to the Nigerian Police, while 3 suspects are still in our custody. At this point, it is important to highlight the importance of the Joint Security Meetings held regularly here at the Joint Border Post. These meetings provide valuable intelligence and opportunities to cross-fertilize ideas about Border management. We note that collaboration holds the key to success in border management that’s why we’ve insisted on information sharing among sister agencies.

“In light of our present economic realities, where massive food shortages have been reported across the country, and in line with the directive to ensure grains are not exported illegally, the Command made a seizure of a truckload of beans, totaling four hundred *(400)* bags with a DPV of ₦61,450,000., stockpiled in a warehouse at one of the exit corridors in the border. This item has since been deposited in the Government warehouse for safekeeping and eventual sale to the public.

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“In the same vein, the continuous surveillance of the border by our officers and men has resulted in the interceptions of Four Hundred *(400x30liters)* of PMS equivalent of 12,000 liters* with a DPV ₦8,347,680 in the early hours of Saturday, 2nd March 2024 along the creeks. The PMS seized will be auctioned in line with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of sales of seized perishable items as directed by the Service.

“These seizures come on the heels of successes in anti-smuggling activities recorded in 2023, which saw 513 seizures of foreign parboiled rice, premium motor spirit, vehicles, General merchandise, drugs/narcotics, and vegetable oil. Others were Six Million Dollars $6,000,000.00 of fake currency, 15 fake international passports, *10* International Driver’s licenses, and *152* live birds and other endangered species. All with a Duty Paid Value of over 1.212 Billion Naira.

“The Lagos-Abidjan corridor of which the Lagos Badagry expressway is a major composite is a singular passageway accessible via multiple tributaries. Our creeks and the Atlantic traverse this single entry point. That is why collaboration with the Nigerian Navy is imperative and significant. The Nigerian Air Force and Army have provided critical support throughout this period”

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As the lead agency in border security and facilitators of international trade, we are constantly aware of the need to balance both responsibilities through the use of risk management tools at our disposal. We are also aware that those whose illicit businesses have been significantly hindered by our activities will spare no effort in devising new methods to counter us. Some of these efforts will include misinformation and disinformation. We would like to assure the public that we will continue to remain alive to our responsibilities and will not be deterred by naysayers or anyone intent upon casting aspersions on our officers, some of whom have paid the ultimate price for the service to their country. Others have been severely maimed and will bear the scars of their bravery to their graves.

“These are challenging times for the Nigeria Customs Service. As criminals get more desperate and daring, we at Seme/Krake Joint Border Post will ensure the sustainability of a more formidable defense” he said.

On export, he said the Command has processed 184 export declarations for 43 items with a total weight of 65,185.96 Metric tonnes and a FOB of 13.057 Billion Naira. He added that the total amount collected for Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) was 65.337 Million Naira, and N24.407m as Export Surcharge for previously imported goods.

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