• Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

The Nigeria Customs Service, Area 2 Command Onne, under the leadership of Comptroller Mohammed Babandede, has announced significant strides in revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities since his assumption of duty in April 2024.

At a press briefing held on Friday, Comptroller Babandede detailed the Command’s recent achievements. Upon his arrival, he engaged in extensive consultations with stakeholders and sister agencies to foster cooperation and synergy. This collaborative approach aligns with the Controller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi’s policy of consolidation and collaboration.

Regarding revenue generation, the Command was initially set a target of ₦494 billion, which was recently revised to ₦618 billion for 2024. As of May 2024, the Command had generated ₦249.75 billion, achieving 50.4% of the initial target and 40.3% of the revised annual target. This marks an increase of ₦153.21 billion compared to the same period last year. Despite challenges such as the NLC strike, Democracy Day, and Sallah holidays, the Command generated ₦43.43 billion in June 2024. Comptroller Babandede expressed optimism that the Command would surpass the annual target by year-end.

In anti-smuggling operations, the Command displayed six seized containers violating various customs laws and procedures. Items seized include:

1. Four 20-foot containers with bales of clothing, lace, and fabrics, valued at ₦911.52 million.
2. Two 40-foot containers with 2,625 cartons of cough syrup containing codeine, 80 cartons of Sildenafil Citrate tablets, and 40 cartons of deluxe chilly cutters, valued at ₦2.25 billion.

The total duty paid value of the seized items amounts to ₦3.19 billion. These seizures were made possible through intelligence gathering and collaboration with sister agencies, particularly the NDLEA. The seized items are currently stored in the Government Warehouse and will be shown to the press. They will be filed for condemnation at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and subsequently forfeited to the Federal Government.

Comptroller Babandede reiterated the importance of synergy, collaboration, and intelligence sharing in enhancing the Command’s revenue drive and anti-smuggling efforts. He emphasized the critical role of the media in public enlightenment and achieving compliance with trade laws.

Addressing concerns about Bonded Terminals, Babandede clarified that the procedures for clearing items are at the discretion of the importer and are indicated on the Bill of Lading. The Command strictly adheres to these procedures, ensuring that any infractions result in appropriate actions, such as demand notices or detention of goods.

The Command remains committed to its responsibilities of revenue collection, identifying leakages, gathering intelligence, and facilitating trade. Comptroller Babandede assured that the Command will continue to strengthen its strategies and cooperation with stakeholders to achieve its goals.

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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