Customs Decries Increase in Illicit Import of Military Hardware

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* Earns N11.6bn in Q1 at MMIA

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos Command has expressed worry over the high spate of importation of military hardware, uniforms and other accessories into the country, fueling fears of the arming of militias and communities in different parts of Nigeria.

The command also announced a revenue of N11.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018, saying that the earning was about 26 per cent short of projections.

Spokesman of the command Ephraim Haruna said the military imports were intercepted at both Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc and the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) sheds with different airway bill numbers and different importers and organisations.

He said that within the first quarter, the command made noteworthy seizure of consignments of military hardware imported into the country and seized 20 pieces of assorted optical sight gadgets wrapped in a military camouflage uniform bags, mainly for riffles and grenade launcher, military knee/shin guards, handcuffs, police official cardigans and drones.

There were also 108 cartons of expired (2009) beef imported into the country, pangolin scales and Tramadol tablets without the registration number of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The statement issued by Customs, MMIA Command quoted the new Customs Area Comptroller, Mrs. Shoboiki, as advising clearing agents to educate the importers to desist from bringing into the country items that were not only prohibited, but absolutely prohibited, adding that military hardware were not to be imported by individuals.

She said such items must come into the country with an end user certificate, which she said the imports did not have.

“We have enough fresh beef in this country, I see no reason someone will import not only beef but expired one. The item is under the import prohibition list, schedule three, item two of the Common External Tariff (CET), was abandoned and all effort made to arrest the consignee proved abortive as the address mentioned does not exist,” Shoboiki said.

She attributed the revenue performances and the remarkable seizures to the officers at the command, stressing that they had keyed into the strategies put in place to block all possible revenue leakages.

Also, in line with the Comptroller-General and the federal government policy on ease of doing business, Shoboiki said her administration eliminated some of the duplications in the clearing processes.

Also, the spokesman of the command said the revenue figure generated at MMIA represented 74.34 per cent of the envisaged revenue target for the quarter under review.

He explained that in the first month under Shoboiki, which was March, 2018, the command generated over N4.12 billion despite the public holidays within the month, which prevented its officials from carrying out their duties.