- Ag. Compt. Hussein Ejibunu
By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it seized general goods with a total duty paid value (DPV) of N694.5 million in March 2023.
Also, five suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures, prominent among which were 6,228x50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice (11 trailer loads) and 35,325 liters of premium motor spirit (PMS), for contravening various sections of the extant Customs laws.
Reviewing the unit’s operations in March, Ag. Controller Hussein Ejibunu told newsmen in Lagos Tuesday that the other seizures included 279 cartons of foreign poultry products, 105 parcels (50kg) of cannabis sativa, 2x40ft containers said to contain 883 bales of used clothes, and 8 units of foreign used vehicles.
Ejibunu explained that the unit’s strategies were “consistently being reworked in our efforts to be ahead of the economic saboteurs towards defeating their game of concealment, false declaration, under-payment and duty evasion.”
According to him, the Federal Government imposed trade restrictions in efforts to protect the local companies and farmers from unhealthy competition with foreign firms.
Now, “the onus lies on citizens to complement government’s efforts by complying with the Customs’ extant regulations and government’s fiscal policies. This can be achieved by making sincere declarations, and being properly guided by the import/export prohibition lists.”
He stressed that the wisdom in government’s protectionist policy is to protect the national economy and safeguard citizens’ lives and property, adding that smuggled bales of used clothes expose users to fungal and other skin diseases, like scabies.
Ejibunu further explained that apart from the effect of smuggled foreign frozen poultry products on the economy, it also affects the health of consumers, as some are preserved under questionable conditions, according to some previous laboratory reports by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Following the reworked strategy, expired, illicit and other drugs intercepted at different times and locations over trade infractions, with a DPV of N1.422 billion, are constructively warehoused in 39x140ft and 2x20ft containers. They will be handed over to NAFDAC for possible destruction.
“In our efforts to prevent loss of government revenue to duty underpayments from under-valuation of imported items or wrong Harmonised System (HS) code classification, the sum of N72.693 million was recovered during the period under review.
“These seizures are a reflection of our commitment to duty and non-compromise in the discharge of our functions; aimed at protecting the nation’s economy and preventing importation of prohibited and harmful products from entering our domestic markets.
“The general public is encouraged to approach any customs office across the country for information and guidance concerning international trade.”
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