The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) anti-smuggling campaign has yielded more results in Zone C.
Zone C which has its headquarters in the Imo State capital, Owerri covers Imo, Delata, Edo, and Abia States.
The zone has recorded more seizures since the new Customs Area Controller (CAC), NCS, Federal Operations (FOU), Zone â€˜Câ€™ Owerri, Comptroller Bukar Amajam took over the reins of administration last month.
Confirming the development while taking an inspection tour of the seizures kept in of Government Warehouses in Benin City and Owerri, Comptroller Amajam said on assumption of duty, the zone has recorded seizures of items.
These include 1,591 used tires with duty paid value (DPV) of N14, 378, 400;Â 380 cartons of soap with duty paid value of N10,093,009; and 3,889 bags of rice with DPV of N 101,478,000. Their various means of conveyance including a Volkswagen bus, Volvo truck, Ford Transit Bus, MAN truck, Mercedes Benz lorry all with a DPV of N19, 740, 300.
Also seized was 1x40ft container intercepted along Aba/Eleme containing assorted goods including 6,600 pieces of sewing machines, 3,080 sewing machine motor, 47 pieces of empty gas cylinder, 19 pieces of gas stove, 9900 packets of measuring tape, 1080 bundles of PVC package, 320 scissors amongst various other items with a DPV of N111,572,300.
The unit under Amajamâ€™s watch also seized one Nissan Almera with DPVof 4,725,000. This brings the amount of DPV for seized items to N261, 987, 009.Â Â Â Similarly, the Unit also recovered N10, 646, 477 being underpayments for the month of May.
The CAC also revealed that other commodities are in detention pending investigations. These include a container of 1401 rolls of fabric with DPV of N14,100,000, assorted cars including a 2016 Toyota Prado Jeep with DPV of N25,658,201; a 2013 Toyota Prado Jeep with DPV of N17,349,647; a 2011 Toyota Prado Jeep with duty paid value of N74,250,000; a 2010 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon bullet proof with DPV of N74,250,000; a 2008 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon with DPV of N18,528,750; and a 2016 Range Rover with DPV of N28,049,645.
Amajam stated that tough times await smugglers as the renewed onslaught against smuggling activities embarked upon by his unit would continue.
He explained that the commodities seized were in contravention of the law with some of the infractions bordering on false declarations and deliberate attempts to evade duty payment.
â€œWe cannot ease business if there is fraudulent declaration. In an honest society where honest declaration is done then the ease of doing business will be achievedâ€, he said.
He described deliberate efforts at false declaration and wrong classification to evade duty payments as acts of smuggling and he urged importers and agents not to cut corners but to ensure proper classification of their goods and commodities and pay the right duty on them.
His words: â€œBe law abiding. Always follow the legal provisions for any imports and exports. Classify appropriately and do the right thing at all timesâ€.
Comptroller Amajam who declared a zero tolerance for smuggling said he would in addition to anti-smuggling activities engage the media to raise awareness of the dangers and negative impacts of smuggling. He decried the vice saying that it has led to loss of jobs, increase in criminal activity and attendant insecurity.
â€œFOU Zone â€˜Câ€™ Owerri is committed to enforcing government policy and we can do this through your help raising awareness and educate the public about the dangers of smuggling,â€ he told the press. Not only does smuggling damage our economy, some of the smuggled goods threaten the health and safety of our citizens.â€
According to him, on assumption of duty commended officers and men of FOU Zone â€˜Câ€™ Owerri for their hard work and dedication, urging them to be professional and diligent in the discharge of their duties and ensure all revenue leakages are blocked. The command under my watch will intensify its anti-smuggling operations to sustain the mandate of FOU and bring smuggling to its barest minimum.
On rice seizures, he explained that any rice importation without appropriate approval and importation through the seaport is liable to seizure just as he reiterated that the ban on rice importation through the land borders in still in force and urged importers to follow the legal provisions for importation of rice to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.
According to him, those that buy rice for subsistence in the open market have no case with the service. Check on the authentic website or make enquiries at the nearest customs formation for any clarifications on trade restrictions and provisions. Report any suspected activity of smuggling and volunteer any information that will be of benefit to anti-smuggling activities. Such information will be treated with discretion.