- Ag. Controller Hussein Ejibunu
By Anthony Nwachukwu
Eleven suspects were arrested in the South-West Zone of the country by the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in October 2022 and are at various stages of investigation over their connection with some of the seizures in the month, the unit said.
In his briefing on the activities of the FOU ‘A’ within the period on Wednesday, Ag. Controller Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu said the seizures, which included 7,403x50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, were made along the border and port corridors in the zone.
According to him, the seizures had a total duty paid value (DPV) of N671.6, while the cumulative revenue recovered from underpayments was N42.3 million, “which would have been lost to individuals but for the diligent and meticulous documentary checks by officers of this unit.”
Notable among the seizures in October included 7,403x50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, 53,759 litres of petroleum motor spirit (PMS), 121 cartons of frozen poultry products, 724 bales of used clothing, three used motorcycles, and 97 pieces of used tyres, Compt. Ejibunu disclosed.
There were also 162 (96kg) parcels of Indian hemp, 11kegs of 25-litre vegetable oil, 13 used fridges, 3,116 pieces of cutlass, 700 rolls of cigarettes, 23 cartons of dates, nine vehicles, and two units of 1×40 containers of charcoal.
However, “having understood the unrepentant nature of some economic saboteurs, their increased desperation to smuggle and their quest to acquire wealth ahead of the festive period, this unit has remained resolute in enforcing compliance with federal fiscal policies, Customs and Excise laws.
“While doing this, we have evolved better strategies of being ahead of them, not only to seize their wares but also to get them arrested and prosecuted. Let me remind you that smuggling in whatever guise or form is an illegal activity that constitutes a crime against customs extant laws.”
He explained that primary among other effects, “smuggling compromises national security, robs the nation of revenue, which consequently affects the provision of basic amenities and social services to the citizens.”
Aside these, Ejibunu noted that the importation of expired, fake and other illicit drugs could as well destroy citizens’ health.
Speaking on the unit’s ability to do so much with the period under review, he attributed the achievement to the enabling provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as amended.
“Sections 158 (power to patrol freely), sections 160 to 163 (failure to pay duty on demand, untrue declarations, counterfeiting documents, and false scales, among others)” were diligently enforced, he disclosed.
Nevertheless, “I appeal to the trading community to be patriotic by making sincere declarations and paying the maximum duties/levies payable to the federal government. Anyone found culpable of the aforementioned would be prosecuted according to the extant laws.”