- Compt. Oduadu Salefu, showing newsmen some of the new operational boats
By Anthony Nwachukwu
Smuggled items, including 1,519x50kg foreign parboiled rice and 468 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N110 million were intercepted by the Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in February and March 2023.
And to strengthen the command’s anti-smuggling campaign, it received four more operational boats – two gunboats and two logistics boats – from the NCS headquarters on March 28th and April 3rd, 2023 to boost its existing fleet.
Briefing newsmen Tuesday in Lagos on these developments and the command’s activities, Compt. Oduadu Salefu said the that 15 incidences of seizures were recorded from January to March 2023, with rice accounting for a DPV of N85 million and the PMS N2.18 million.
Others included 700 pairs of foreign used shoes worth N5. 64 million, 145 pieces of expired foreign used tyres worth N1.86 million, three outboard boat engines and water pumping machine worth N4.851 million and 88 cartons of Caro White cream worth N10.560 million.
Salefu vowed to continue implementing the command’s responsibilities pursuant to Sections 149 (power to search vehicles/ship) and 158 (power to patrol freely) of the CEMA Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended, to suppress smuggling along the South-western waterways and creeks.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the importation of foreign parboiled rice (HS Code 1006.30.1000) is restricted in Nigeria since March 2016 and any improper importation of foreign rice contrary to allowed trade route restriction is liable to forfeiture further to section 46 of CEMA 2004 as amended,” he explained.
“Any improper importation or exportation of PMS (HS Code 2710.12.4000 and 2710.12.5000) across land borders and waterways in Nigeria contrary to allowed trade route restriction is liable to forfeiture further to section 46 (forfeiture of good improperly imported) and section 63 (forfeiture of good improperly exported) of CEMA 2004 as amended,” he said.
Meanwhile, Salefu stated that within the period under review, the command arrested five suspects, who have been granted administrative bail pending when charges would be preferred against them.
While advising smugglers to desist from illicit trade and economic sabotage, he urged users to shun bleaching creams because they are cancerous, adding jokingly that those who wish to change their complexions should rather consult God first.
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