Acting Controller Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ Hussein K Ejibunu
At a press briefing, he gave recently, Hussein K Ejibunu – the acting Controller of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), gave an account of the recent successes recorded by his officers and men in their relentless onslaught against the activities of smugglers and economic saboteurs in the zone. Ejibunu used the occasion to re-emphasized the fact that smuggling is an illegal as well as an unpatriotic activity that is inimical to the economy of the nation.
Notable among the goods seized in February 2023 for non-compliance under the extant Customs laws are:
I. 5,328 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 9 trailer loads).
II. 1 x 40 ft container said to contain 512 cartons of generators (seized for false declaration).
III. 1 x 40 ft container said to contain 2,298 cartons of half gasoline engines (seized for false declaration).
IV. 29,875 liters of premium motor spirit (PMS).
V. 283 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products.
VI. 75 kilograms of cannabis sativa.
VII. 5 units of foreign-used vehicles.
VIII. 1 x 40 ft container said to contain charcoal meant for export.
According to Ejibunu, the goods have a total duty paid value of Five Hundred and One Million, Four Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Five Naira (N501,460,875). He went ahead to also say that one of the major achievements they made in the recent past was the bursting and arrest of a two-man syndicate that is into forging Customs clearance documents. He revealed that sequel to the arrest of one of the suspects (Shuaibu Kolo), with a 2007 Mercedes Benz along the Ajilete-Idiroko Road in Ogun State, the controller said there was an in-depth investigation that led to the unraveling of information, which included pictures of over 600 vehicles domiciled in the Benin Republic, waiting to undergo forgery based clearing process by the same criminal syndicate.
The following items were said to have been recovered from the suspects in the course of arrest and investigation:
I. Fake Customs valuation stamp.
II. Fake Customs Duty Chart Book on vehicles.
III. Fake Customs documents and vehicle registration documents.
IV. 4 computer monitors.
V. 3 computer processing units.
VI. 1 keyboard.
VII. 1 printer.
In his further statement, the controller said it is regrettable that in their resolve to safeguard the national economy and prevent loss of revenue, his officers are constantly being ambushed and attacked by suspected smugglers and their sympathizers with guns, machetes, charms, and other dangerous items, while on their legitimate duty. The most recent incident of this kind of assault on officers was that of an arrested criminal using charms to attack personnel along the Owoyele-Igbogila road in Ogun State. Ejibunu once again appealed to all of these individuals to desist from their nefarious activities and warmed that anyone caught and found culpable would face the full wrath of the law.
He stated that a total sum of One Hundred and Three Million, Six Hundred and Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety-Seven Naira, Thirty-Two Kobo (N103,604,297.32) was collected as a result of demand notices issued to defaulters whose goods were either undervalued or had underpaid duties or had their goods wrongly classified.
In concluding his press briefing, the controller assured the business community that his unit is ever ready to encourage compliant traders by helping to facilitate their legitimate businesses as enshrined in the extant laws and strongly advised recalcitrant traders to desist from violating the extant regulations, as things are likely not to go too well for them, since they will have him and his officers to contend with.