Customs Impound N1.3bn Contraband, Arrests 42 Suspects


By John Iwori

The anti-smuggling campaign of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has yielded more results as contraband worth over N1.3 billion has been intercepted by its patrol officers in Zone C.

In all, a total seizure of 169 items was recorded in the last six months of the year, just as N394.8 million was recovered as underpayment.

In the same vein, no fewer than 42 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.

Already, 25 cases are now pending in court between January and June this year.

The seizures and underpayment recovered contrast with N39,644,813 underpayment recovered and a duty paid value (DPV) of N1,013,833,362 it recorded in the same period last year.

These were disclosed by the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, Owerri, Imo State, Comptroller Haruna Mammudu.

The CAC who made this known in a statement made available to THISDAY at the weekend and signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mrs. Ifeoma Onuigbo said that the banned items were confiscated on the Benin, Calabar, Owerri, Enugu and Aba/Eleme axis within the zone.

 According to Mammudu, the items which 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 clothing; 897 cartons of foreign detergents and creams as well as 167 pairs of foot wear.

While professing the preparedness of the NCS to tackle the scourge of smuggling of unauthorised goods into the country, the CAC expressed delight at the seizures profile recorded during the first six months of this year as against that made in 2015.

 The CAC stated the dangers and implications in the smuggling of illegal and unauthorised goods into the country, even as he noted 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.