In the July 2022 press briefing, he gave recently, Deputy Comptroller Hussein K Ejibunu, the Acting Comptroller of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A, restated his commitment and that of his officers to continue to enforce laws and policies that are aimed at safeguarding Nigeria’s economy as well as the well-being of Nigerians. He said he considers the act by some desperate smugglers in using Nigeria’s limited foreign reserve to import expired seasonings (Chicken Cubes), used clothes, shoes and tyres for monetary gains as despicable as it is not only injurious to Nigeria’s economy but also dangerous to other peoples’ health.
Ejibunu seized the opportunity to restate the fact that poultry products remained a prohibited item under the import list, stressing health and economic implications. On the point, the Deputy Comptroller said that the Nigerian government in her wisdom banned the importation of poultry products to support the growth of the country’s domestic poultry farms and make them competitive even against foreign producers. He also informed that it was discovered that in transporting these products, some hazardous chemicals are applied to help preserve the products; since their frozen state cannot be sustained till it reaches the final consumers. This act calls for public concern as it could be a source of different ailments and diseases.
Still highlighting the danger in smuggled goods, Ejibunu said most likely, a lot of Nigerian families have been affected at some point in time by either an accident caused by a substandard or used tyre, skin diseases or cancer and many more as a result of patronizing these prohibited products. In his words, ‘while we collectively sympathize with those that are affected by this menace, we are also calling on patriotic citizens to cooperate with the Nigerian Customs Service and other law enforcement agencies to stamp it out. You may recall that, some weeks ago, Nigerians had to pay more for premium motor spirit (PMS) amidst scarcity. Even though the federal government had subsidized the product for local consumption, many Nigerians still passed through this hardship partly because some unscrupulous citizens chose to satisfy their egoistic desires by smuggling the products into the Republic of Benin’.
Notable among the seizures recorded within the period under review are:
I. 7,261 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 12 trucks load)
II. 600 bags of basmati rice (5kg each)
III. 34,725 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS)
IV. 39 bales of used clothes
V. 225 pieces of used tyres
VI. 201 cartons of expired seasoning (Chicken Cubes)
VII. 331 cartons of frozen poultry
VIII. 6 units of used imported cars
IX. 2,634 cartons of slippers/shoes
X. 900 pairs of used shoes
XI. 42 units of used motorcycles, etc.
Nine (9) suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures. Seizures recorded had a cumulative duty paid value (DPV) of Five Hundred and Thirty-seven Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty-Seven Naira, Five Kobo (N537,479,927. 05). Through meticulous checks on import documents, followed with the issuance of demand notices to importers/agents found to have under paid their duties, the sum of Twenty-Four Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Seven Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty-One Naira, Seventy-One Kobo (N24,957,351.71) was collected as revenue. Ejibunu said the amount above would have been lost to some non-compliant importers/agents if not for the watchfulness and the uncompromising disposition of officers of the Unit.
In concluding the press briefing Ejibunu said that it was evident that dare devil smugglers were unrelenting in executing their unlawful and vile businesses, and for that reason, the Customs Service solicit useful and timely information from patriotic Nigerians to enable them tame smuggling. He then encouraged compliant importers and agents to sustain their compliance level, as the Unit and the Service remain resolute to facilitate legitimate trade.