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“WE ARE RESOLUTELY COMMITTED TO THE WAR AGAINST SMUGGLERS” says Hussein K Ejibunu, Acting Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A

Hussein K Ejibunu the Acting Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, at a press briefing on September 6, 2022, has resoundingly sent a wage-up call to Nigerians to be more patriotic in adhering to the government’s fiscal policies for the common good.

The briefing held at the Conference Room of the command at Ikeja, Lagos capital was called to brief the media on the successes recorded in August 2022.

Inside Watch Africa (IWA) reports that Comptroller Ejibunu started by appreciating the strategic partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service and the Press.

In his laudatory remarks, he said: “Our partnership which aims at discouraging and exposing the unlawful activities of smugglers and showing our efforts at stopping them is indeed laudable.

“We are aware of the likely increase in smuggling activities as we gravitate towards the Yuletide period when smugglers’ desperation is usually on the increase.

“Strategies are constantly being reworked ahead of economic saboteurs towards defeating their game of concealment, false declaration and trying to bring in dangerous items like illicit drugs.’’

Apart from the ongoing anti-smuggling drive, Ejibunu said his eagle-eyed officers and men are also focusing on evasion of duty by importers.

As a boost to the pursuit of their mandate as customs officers, he also said they are constantly encouraged by the manpower, logistics, expansion of the government warehouse and other motivating supports being provided by the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali and his management team.

Reeling out the command’s scorecard, the Acting Comptroller disclosed that 20 drums of Carbide, second hand shoes,
5,593 (50kg) bags of foreign, parboiled rice equivalent to nine trailers truckload, 56,725 litres of premium motor spirit (petrol), 375 bales of used clothes, 242 parcels of Indian Hemp and 41 pieces of military camouflage bags were among the items seized by the Unit in August 2022.

He pointed out that the seized Carbide, which borders on the nation’s security, is a flammable and reactive chemical used in the manufacture of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and could be very dangerous to lives and property.

“Importation of such chemicals into society uncontrollably could create serious security challenges for the country; the chemical exposure can irritate the mouth, nose and throat if not properly handled. Higher exposures may cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs and could lead to an emergency medical situation.

“That is why its importation is strictly controlled by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).’’

According to Ejibunu, the seizures were made from Idi-Iroko border in Ogun State, Oyo axis, Seme Road in Lagos State, Ijebu-Ode Road in Ogun and the ports corridors.

On the number of suspects apprehended in connection with the seizures, he disclosed that 10 people are already in Customs net while investigation and prosecution are at various stages.

He put the Aggregate Duty Paid value (DPV) of the seized goods at Five Hundred and Seventy-nine Million, Four Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty-nine Naira (N579, 412,549.00).

On the efforts to prevent loss of government revenue to duty underpayments, undervaluation of imported items and wrong harmonized system (HS) code classification, he said a total of Forty-six Million, Two Hundred and Ninety-eight Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty-two Naira, Fifty Kobo (N46,298,422.50) was recovered during the period under review.

The Acting Controller, however, hoped that the seizures, recoveries and arrests would serve as a deterrent to other smugglers and duty evaders, assuring the media that the Unit will not stop making life unbearable for smugglers.

“Efforts are being intensified to continually seize smuggled items, arrest suspected perpetrators and ensure they face diligent prosecution.’’

Below is the list of the seized goods:

  1. 1 x 40ft containing flavour seasoning, falsely declared as auto spare parts
  2. 1x 40ft containing auto interior accessories, falsely declared as filters/pneumatic transmission
  3. 1X 40ft containing vegetable oil and foreign parboiled rice, falsely declared as used vehicles.
  4. 1 x 20ft containing 21 pallets of tiles, falsely declared as PVC floor tiles/floor bricks
  5. 1x 20ft containing Padi Bitters, falsely declared as olive nuts.
  6. 1x 20ft containing unprocessed wood, falsely declared as Aluminium ingots
  7. 1 x 20ft containing bales of used clothes and shoes with a used fake seal/Dangote Truck
  8. 20 drums of Carbide without an End User Certificate
  9. 5,593 (50kg) bags of foreign, parboiled rice; equivalent to 9 trailers truckload.
  10. 56,725 litres of premium motor spirit
  11. 375 bales of used clothes
  12. 242 parcels of Indian hemp
  13. 41 pieces of military camouflage bags
  14. 29 motorcycles, 11 seized cars (Tokunbo)

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