The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has step up its anti-smuggling campaign with the seizure of more commodities in Zone C which has its headquarters in the Imo State capital, Owerri.
The service seized 8, 295 used tyres popularly called â€œtotunboâ€ worth N66 million just it also seized other commodities worth N141 million.
The items were some of the seizures made by the service in the zone from January to July 2017.
These were disclosed by the NCS, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Bukar Amajam in a chat with news men in the Edo State capital, Benin City.
In a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Chioma Onuoha, the CAC stated this shortly after conducting newsmen around NCS Government Warehouse, Benin City where the seizures were being showcased.
Amajam was quoted saying that most of the used tyres were craftily concealed in their various means of conveyance but operatives of the Service were able to detect and intercept them.
According to the Customs Chief, the used tyres put motorists in grave danger and therefore the unit in carrying out its functions will continue to ensure that irresponsible traders bent on putting Nigerian lives at serious risk will not succeed.
The CAC said the seizures made by FOU â€˜Câ€™ Owerri for July 2017 showed that the unit has recorded 18 seizures with duty paid value (DPV) of N141, 229,000. He also revealed that the unit also made recovery of underpayments to the tune of N24, 575,796.
The seizures made include cartons of vegetable oil, used tyres and bags of rice. Others are a luxury bus intercepted with 69 bags of rice and 40 bales of second hand clothing.
He also disclosed another Sino truck laden with 460 bags of rice with DPV of N11, 776, 000 as well as Toyota Previa car was intercepted with 59 bags of rice with DPV of N944, 000.
While displaying a 1×20 foot container intercepted conveying used motor parts with cartons of foreign soap concealed in it, he explained that the foreign soap was prohibited for trade.
He explained that import prohibitions have been put in place to protect the local manufacturing industry and called on the populace to gain information and knowledge before importation.
Also on display were three exotic cars including a Bentley GT Coupe 2014 model with DPV of over N56 million naira, Mercedes s Benz GLK 2011 model with DPV of N9,235,963 and another Mercedes Benz GLK 2008 model with DPV of N7,715,838 under detention.
Amajam disclosed that preliminary investigation reveal that the three cars do not have evidence of duty payment even as he pointed out that the nature of the cars show that it was bought by someone rich and affluent.
He appealed to wealthy Nigerians to be patriotic and pay appropriate duty and taxes, adding that it was the civic duty of every Nigerian to forward any useful information to the service.
He maintained that this was one of the ways that put the NCS in a position to guard against illegal activities of smugglers and protect the socio-economic wellbeing of the nation at large.
He commended patriotic Nigerians that have volunteered information that have been invaluable and have yielded positive results.
Their act, he said, has led to increased success in anti-smuggling operations just as he asserted the resolve of the unit and the NCS to bring smuggling to its barest minimum.
On the removal of illegal checkpoints, Amajam stated that the directive does not hamper operatives in the discharge of their duties.
According to the CAC, even though smugglers were trying to capitalise on the directive to ply their trade, he noted that they have not succeeded because information patrol teams have been on high alert.