The Customs Area Controller, Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri, Comptroller Olusemire Kayode has stated that the unit will continue to do what it can to out an end to smuggling appealing to Nigerians to be patriotic and pay appropriate duties and taxes.
Kayode made this appeal at a press briefing in Benin on the successes of the Unit’s anti smuggling activities.
Showcasing expensive cars that were intercepted by his officers for failure to pay duty, he decried a situation where people import exotic cars and do not pay duty on them.
He added that most of the cars in the government warehouse in Benin are smuggled.
“We are here to showcase the agility of our officers and our ability to work. But we are not here just to showcase seizures but to appeal to Nigerians who travel abroad to buy cars worth millions and not pay duty on them. Why will someone bring in a car without payment of duty? We cannot continue like this,” he said.
He added, “Three out of the cars intercepted were armoured vehicles and the CAC explained the reason for their interception.
“The importation of armoured cars is controlled. It should have an end user certificate so that they do not get into the wrong hands. The end user certificate is obtained from the office of the national security adviser.
“I wonder why someone will go abroad and buy a car worth millions and not pay duty on them. Stop wasting your hard earned money. If you buy a car worth N100 million, N15 million, please be prepared to pay duty on them. If you are buying cars from a dealership ask for the C number of the vehicle and confirm the status of the duty payment at any customs formation before you pay for the car.”
He called on Nigerians to support the local rice industry by buying locally grown rice.
He explained that the government had invested a lot in the local rice industry and advised Nigerians not to sabotage the efforts to boost the rice industry.
“In Calabar we have 675 bags of rice in the warehouse. In Enugu we have over 1,000 bags of rice. I appeal to you to do the right thing. We are prepared to make the country great. People are given loans to go into farming and others want to sabotage the economy by bringing in rice. We appeal to you. These things are inimical to the country.
Please stop the desperation in bringing in rice; it is not as good and as healthy as the one grown in Nigeria. Some of the imported rice has been stored for years before importation and sometimes under very unhygienic conditions.
“If you want to know anything about importation go to our help desk and website. All prohibited items are listed there. Watch our programmes on television and listen on radio and get information on what to bring and what not to bring in,” he said.
He gave the duty paid value of the rice and cars seized to be N591 million, adding that suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.
On porous entry points into the country he said Nigeria had vast land mass at the borders with approved and unapproved routes.
He explained that smugglers do not come through approved routes but will prefer to seek unapproved routes into the country.
“Smuggling takes place in the whole world. There is no way smuggling does not happen. The focus is now on technology, on how we can use technology to reduce smuggling and the service is working hard in that regards.
People should make it easy on themselves by complying with government policy. It is a win win situation for us because we are ruining the activities of smugglers but we also appeal for people to pay their duty,” he said.