By Moses Ebosele
Between January and June, this year, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone ‘C’, Owerri, impounded 169 contrabands worth N1.3billion.
Among the items include 90 vehicles; 2,758 bags of rice; 4,160 pieces of used tyres; 1,337 cartons/set of furniture and 625 cartons of fake drugs
The Zone also recovered N394.8Million under-payment while forty-two (42) suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures made.
The Customs Area Controller in charge of the Unit, Comptroller Haruna Mammudu explained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer in Owerri, Assistant Superintendent of Customs II Onuigbo Ifeoma that the banned items were confiscated by the vigilant Officers and Men of the Unit on the Benin, Calabar, Owerri, Enugu and Aba/Eleme axis within the zone.
Aready, twenty-five (25) cases are pending in court for possible prosecution.
The statement explained that the statistics is in “contrast with a total of N39,644,813.00 underpayment recovered and a Duty Paid Value (DPV) N1,013,833,362.00 which the unit recorded in the year 2015”.
Explaining further, the Comptroller explained that the items, were packaged and concealed in “such a manner as to deceive security agents on duty include 90 vehicles; 2,758 bags of 50kg rice; 4,160 pieces of used tyres; 1,337 cartons/set of furniture and 625 cartons of fake drugs”.
Others were 61 containers of log of wood; 2,600 pieces of imported school bags; 97 pieces of 14 stroke engine generator and used fridges; 3,550 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products; 992 bales of second hand clothings; 897 cartons of foreign detergents and creams as well as 167 pairs of foot wear.
Emphasising the preparedness of the NCS to tackle the scourge of smuggling of unauthorized goods into the country he expressed delight at the seizures profile recorded during the first six (6) months of the year 2016.
He, however, re-emphasized the dangers and implications inherent in the smuggling of illegal and unauthorized goods into the country, adding that while the ugly practice had continued to deal a devastating blow on the nation’s economy, many families had been ruined as a result of the dastardly unpatriotic practice.
The CAC urged Nigerians, “who are still trapped in the illicit cancer of smuggling to retract their ugly steps in their own interest, warning that the Nigeria Customs Service is now better equipped, trained, motivated and reinvigorated to neutralize the antics of smugglers and to dislodge them wherever they perpetrate their evil acts”.
He appealed to member of the public with useful information about smugglers, their agents and collaborators to always make them available to security agencies for necessary actions, pledging that such classified information would not be divulged to any individual, group or association.
Haruna also advised the officers to always discharge their duty without fear or favour and abide strictly to the ethics of their profession.
He explained that efficiency, productivity, and dedication to duty should be their watch words in spite of any challenge facing them.
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