By Anthony Nwachukwu
A Dangote truck laden with 250x50kg foreign parboiled rice, as well as other items worth the sum of N373.6 million have been intercepted by the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Strike Force Team A at different locations in Ogun and Lagos states.
Compt. Mohammed Sani Yusuf of Strike Force Team A told newsmen Thursday that the other items seized in the past one month were 3x20ft containers of timber, 1000x50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, 3,143 pieces of used tyres, 320 bales of used clothing, 44 sacks of donkey hides and 137.3kg of Indian Hemp.
He added that the “reconstituted” team also collected N648.3 million from demand notices, as well as seizures with a total duty paid value of N373. 6 million.
“I want to reiterate very sternly that we don’t believe in settling down before executing our task in a sensitive assignment as this,” Yusuf said. “Smugglers who thought they could take advantage of the recent changes to carry out their unlawful trade were disappointed.
“It is pertinent for me to advise importers, licensed customs agents and freight forwarders to imbibe and always operate on good business etiquette by making sincere declarations all the time. With us on the ground, there will be no hiding place for those wishing to cut corners.
“They should always acquaint themselves and be guided by policies of the Federal Government and be abreast with the import and export prohibition lists. We will not take ignorance as an excuse under any guise.”
He added: “We are working 24 hours from day one and they have us to contend with any time they dare to carry out their illicit activities either at night or in the day. I’m happy to declare that our operatives are relentless and uncompromising as far as this task is concerned.
“This is just the beginning of a heated anti-smuggling action that we have embarked upon in the entire South West area of the country. We are ready to run smugglers out of town, aimed at protecting our national economy, preventing dangerous importation, as well as exportation that contradicts the law.
“Our patrolling and interception capacity is recharged for round-the-clock operation against smugglers and anyone attempting to circumvent the due process of import and export.”