Contraband worth over N250 million have been impounded by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone C, Owerri, Imo State.
The service also recovered the sum of N48, 742, 845 as underpayments from consignees in the zone. The seizure of the items was in furtherance to what the service called its “unflinching mission to protect the wellbeing of citizens of Nigeria” through the performance of its statutory roles and responsibilities.
In a statement, the service said its hard work and efforts paid off with 17 seizures of various contraband with duty paid value (DPV) of N112, 617, 700 in the month of March.
Within the period under review, it also intercepted and detained a huge consignment of medicaments worth N178, 209,310 in DPV.
“This brings the sum of DPV for seizures and goods in detention made in March 2017 to N250, 951,010”, it said.
According to the statement which was signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the unit, Chioma Onuoha, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), FOU, Zone C, Owerri, Comptroller Mohammed Garba, made this known while giving highlight of the activities of the zone in the period under review.
Giving a breakdown of the seizures, Garba noted that rice topped the list of seized items in March with a total of 2,455 bags with a DPV of N77, 558, 800. Also seized were 1,266 foot wears with DPV of N6,076,800, 307 used tyres with DPV of N3,789,600, 100, used shoes with DPV of N8,100,000 and 40 bales of used clothing with DPV of N5,280,000.
The CAC also revealed that the unit also made seizure of 3 vehicles with a DPV of N4, 050, 000.
On the medicaments intercepted in the Agbor axis of the zone, Garba said these include 268 cartons of Tramadol, 202 cartons of Pullegra, 36 cartons of Reall Octra, 928 packets of Tramadol.
He said a sample of the various medicaments has been sent to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for tests and verification while the consignment is being held for further investigations.
Conducting newsmen on a tour of the government warehouse in Benin City, Edo State where some of the seized items were kept, Garba noted that the nefarious activities of smugglers endanger the health and safety of Nigerian citizens, affects the economy, and even pose a threat to national security.
He reiterated the unflinching resolve of the zone under his watch to make it uncomfortable for smugglers to operate just as he urged Nigerians to be patriotic and report any smuggling activities in their areas to the service.
“Any valuable information forwarded to the unit will be treated in confidence”, he said.
The CAC commended the untiring efforts of his officers and men which have made the zone to generate revenue running into millions of naira. He added that the continuous support of the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (retired) and the management of the service in the areas of staff training and provision of working tools has further strengthened anti-smuggling operations of the zone.
He restated the readiness of the zone to thwart all efforts of unscrupulous elements bent on economic sabotage of the nation.
He advised smugglers as well as fraudulent importers to channel their resources towards legitimate trade and economic ventures and desist from engaging in smuggling activities, as the NCS and indeed the zone, will not renege on its statutory functions of suppression of smuggling.