Customs Strike Force recovers N748.7m, intercepts arms, 1,500 bags of rice, others

  • Strike Force Team ‘A’ Coordinator, Mohammed Sani Yusuf (left), displaying the pump action rifle, among other seizures, in Lagos…Wednesday

By Anthony Nwachukwu

The Strike Force Team ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it recovered approximately N748.7 million through demand notices on underpayments and under-declarations from imports in the month of September 2022.

Coordinator of the team, Mohammed Sani Yusuf, disclosed to newsmen during the display of the seizures in Lagos Wednesday that arms, cars, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and rice, among many others, with a cumulative Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N390.2 million, were also intercepted within the period.

He listed the arms seizure as one pump action, one locally fabricated pistol, and 14 live cartridges, as well as some smuggled foreign used vehicles.

The others were 1500x50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, 839 bales of used clothes, 3,525 litres of PMS (petrol), 900 bags of cement (used to conceal rice), 1,670 Mumrite tomato paste, and 500 Mumrite Sardine.

Speaking on the negative trends in smuggling in Nigeria, Yusuf noted that the sum of N748.7 million was made through documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on consignments that were found to have been short paid.

He regretted that “some Nigerians would pay all duties and levies payable to the customs authorities of other countries they import from while on the other hand, make conscious efforts to evade such payments into the (Nigerian) federal coffers.”

However, in continuation with the agency’s resolve to suppress smuggling and prevent revenue loss within the southwest region, officers and men of the Strike Force Team ‘A’ have remained resolute in enforcing Customs extant laws, he noted.

“In the course of enforcing these laws, recalcitrant importers and traders were either made to pay the maximum duty payable, through the issuance of demand notices, or made to forfeit their goods to the Federal Government by way of seizing them.”

Yusuf reminded the public that foreign tomato paste, used clothing, importation of vehicles through the land borders, used tyres, arms and ammunition without end-user certificate, among others, remain import prohibited, as the threaten the nation’s collective economy.

“Illicit goods imported into the country, with their attendant effects, mostly end up either in our homes or in the neighborhood, causing a wide range of issues – from social to psychological crises,” he explained.

He further solicited the collaboration of the citizenry in the efforts to curb economic sabotage, stating: “Our efforts at ensuring that the local industries are protected from unhealthy foreign competition and other forms of social security require a strong partnership between our operatives and members of the public in areas of information sharing and moral support.

“As we are in the last quarter of the year, approaching the yuletide period, when recalcitrant traders and importers’ quest to make more profits through smuggling is at its peak, I will appeal to importers and agents to be patriotic by making sincere declarations, and paying their duties accurately.

“Let me warn non-compliant traders to desist from such, because we have strategically mobilised and deployed our personnel to do the needful. I wish to reiterate that unpatriotic importers/agents shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

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