• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Customs FOU Zone ‘A’ Makes 1,119 Seizures Worth N10.3 Billion, Arrests 136 Persons With 16 Convictions In 2023

No attacker of our personnel will be spared from facing the full wrath of the law — Comptroller Ejibunu

In a remarkable display of anti-smuggling efforts, the Federal Operations Units (FOU), Zone ‘A’ Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) comprising Lagos and Ogun States says it made 1,119 seizures worth a total duty paid value of ₦10,395,123,943.

Speaking during a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday, the Controller of the Command, Comptroller Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu, shared the impressive achievements highlighting the unit’s diligence in prosecuting the fight against smuggling, leading to a staggering 1,119 seizures with a total duty paid value of N10,395,123,943.

According to him, the seized items included foreign parboiled rice, vehicles, marijuana, tramadol, used tyres, foreign frozen poultry products, footwears, petroleum products, and lots more.

The most significant among the seizures was 139 trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice, totaling 83,170 bags. Additionally, the Unit confiscated 13,706 kegs of PMS, 8,372 kg of Indian Hemp, 2,942 pieces of tyres, 2,153 bales of used clothes, 3,095 cartons of frozen poultry, and 320 cartons of illicit drugs.

Comptroller Ejibunu noted that a total of 136 suspected smugglers were arrested, and after thorough profiling and investigation, they were charged to court. Notably, 16 individuals were convicted through the Federal High Courts for various offenses, including improper importation, assault of Customs officers, possession of foreign parboiled rice, and possession of Pangolin scales meant for export.

The CAC also added that his Unit successfully recovered N851,719,905.01 in Revenue through meticulous document checking.

Ejibunu emphasized the identification of duty payment shortfalls, issuing Demand Notices, and recovering accurate Revenue that could have been lost to non-compliant business practices.

Comptroller Ejibunu affirmed the Unit’s commitment to intensifying efforts in 2024, vowing not to relent in making seizures, arrests, and prosecuting criminals who contravene the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.

He issued a stern warning to potential attackers of Customs officers, stating that they would face the full wrath of the law.

Ejibunu expressed gratitude to the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, and members of the Management Team.

He also acknowledged compliant traders within the Zone for their cooperation in the fight against smuggling. The Command remains resolute in its mission to safeguard national interests and uphold the rule of law in customs enforcement.

In his words: “With the morale and logistics support from the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, we were able to prosecute the fight against smuggling diligently by making seizures, effecting arrests and collecting revenue for government in the course of discharging our functions.

“The report of our seizures and arrests being given to you today attests to the relentless and uncompromising enforcement we deployed in the fight against smuggling in 2023. It is indeed a fallout of the positive energy and selflessness we displayed in the course of our work.

He affirmed that “Last year we made 1,119 seizures worth a total duty paid value of N10,395,123,943; comprising of rice, vehicles, marijuana, tramadol, used tyres, poultry products, footwears, petroleum products etc.

“The most prominent of the seizures is foreign parboiled rice which amounted to 139 trailer loads (83,170 bags of 50 kg, 13,706 kegs by 25 litres of PMS8, 372 Kg of Indian Hemp, 2,942 pieces of tyres, 2,153 bales of used clothes, 3,095 cartons of frozen poultry, 320 cartons illicit drugs.

“Others seizures includes: 15 pieces of bullet proof jackets, 15 pieces of jack knives, and 68 pieces of military camouflage, 450 drums X 106 kg of carbide,1 X 40 ft and 2 X 20 ft containers found to contain charcoal132 units of foreign used vehicles

He continued: “16 people were convicted through the Federal High Courts for committing offences of improper importation, assault of Customs officers, being in possession of foreign parboiled rice and for being in possession of Pangolin scales meant for export. Some other smuggling related cases instituted in the courts are at various stages of prosecution and would be followed up diligently.

“This year 2024, we shall continue, through our legal seat, to follow all pending court cases to logical conclusions. The Unit was able to recover a total of N851,719,905.01 as revenue through meticulous document checking.

“We were able to identify shortfalls in Duty payments from which Demand Notices were issued and accurate revenue were recovered. These are Revenues that would have been lost by the federal government to the pockets of some uncompliant business men.

“I want to reiterate that our battle to prevent smuggling will be intensified this year as we shall not relent in making seizures, arrests and prosecution of criminals who contravene the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. If they don’t desist from their criminal ways, this year will be tougher for them because they will lose their investments and freedom when arrested.

“Let me put on record that we shall lawfully arrest and prosecute any individual involved in the attack of our officers who are discharging their legitimate responsibilities. No attacker of our personnel will be spared from facing the full wrath of the law” Ejibunu concluded.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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