“Arrest 9 Suspected smugglers, says law permit Customs to search everywhere without restrictions”
The Federal Operations Unit of Nigeria Customs Service, Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Lagos despite the fact that smugglers are unrelenting and adamant at complying with the extant laws on international trade, recently made seizures worth N3.1billion in Duty Payable Value.
The Acting Controller of the Unit, Deputy Comptroller Usman Yahaya disclosed this during a press conference, according to him “within the period under review, the Unit recorded the following seizures: 20,538 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 3,106 cartons of frozen poultry product, 1,488 kegs of PMS at 25 litres each, 1,035 bales of secondhand clothing, 77 cartons of tin tomatoes, 2,843.6 kg of Indian Hemp, 877 bundles of printed wax/textile materials, 29 different brands of used vehicles, 2,969 cartons of Eva soap, 42 drums of carbide (explosives), 549 cartons of Tramadol and 12 units of used motorcycles with DPV of N 3.1billion”
“It is important to note that, importation of items such as foreign frozen poultry products, secondhand clothing, spaghetti, toothpicks, used vehicles and rice across land the borders, and many more remains banned.
“In the area of interventions regarding Demand Notices arising from Under-payments, the Unit realized N 242,251,506.00 during the period under review”.
According to him, Section 158 of Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004 as amended, has given us powers to patrol and search everywhere without restrictions.
“Section 147 of the same CEMA empowers us to enter into any premises without search warrant, provided there is credible information on prohibited items deposited therein for us to strike.
“The power to seize and prosecute offenders is also embedded in Sections 46 and 47 respectively. It is instructive to know that offenders are liable to prosecution without option of fine. “A total of Nine (9) suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures. Two (2) out of the Nine (9) have been charged to Court while the other Seven (7) are on Administrative Bail”, DC Yahaya said.
According to Yahaya, everyone should be worried about smuggling because it begets unemployment, drug addiction, criminality, proliferation of light and small arms, substandard goods, and so on. “Just like crime fighting which is the responsibility of everyone and not only security agents, the same applies to Smuggling”.
“You can imagine what would have happened if 42 drums of Carbide (explosives) had entered wrong hands.
“We need your continuous cooperation by providing credible information to continue to hold sway in the fight against smuggling”, he added.