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By Eromosele Abiodun
The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Strike Force Team has announced that it intercepted 564 bales of textiles materials falsely declared as machinery, foreign parboiled rice, foot wears and foreign bags worth hundreds of millions.
Speaking while unveiling the seizure in Lagos, the Coordinator, CGC’s Strike Force, Zone A, Deputy Compt. Ahmadu Bello Shuaibu, said the unit also raised Debit Note (DN) on falsely declared cargoes worth N490 million.
According to the coordinator, the unit generated a whopping N1.42 billion in the last four weeks from DN and anti-smuggling activities.
Giving a breakdown of the seizure, the coordinator said other items seized were: 1,252 bags of smuggled foreign rice, 564 bales of falsely declared Ankara materials, 637 bales of foot-wears and 30,256 pieces of foreign bags.
Shuaibu, however, warned smugglers and importers of contrabands that the unit won’t allow them to turn the country into a dumping ground appealed to importers to make honest declarations always.
He said: “Importers and smugglers shouldn’t make Nigeria a dumping ground because these fabrics and footwear can be produced in Nigeria. We have textile industries employing huge numbers of Nigeria if we keep on importing contrabands then how do we want them to remain in business?”
He continued: “These are what can be produced in Nigeria. We have Hide and Skin factories all around the country. In Aba, we have young boys doing very well producing footwear, bags that the Nigerian Army patronised them for their materials so why do we need to import or smuggle what we can produce locally.
“The message we are passing out is for people to have change of heart for the betterment of this country, our industries are moribund, youths unemployed and government need money to carry out infrastructure upgrading and we need to contribute our quota to ensure that restiveness of our youth is reduced.”
Speaking on DN raised in the last four weeks, he said, “honest declaration is what we want, importers and their agents should come to terms with reality that anything they are bringing in should conform to rules and regulations. You are bringing in bags, shoes, things that are prohibited just for the main fact that they are prohibited and I believe that if these things are dutiable, they will not bring it in but we are sending out message to them that we need honest declaration.
“Everybody should be nationalistic in thinking, patriotic in our actions so that we can defend and protect this country, contribute to the quality of the country so that Nigeria will be a better place for our children.
“We are all Nigerians, they should refrain, change and let everyone be in the same page and if they insist to do their nefarious activities, we will use our manpower, intelligence to checkmate them and until we leave this service we will continue to checkmate them and protect our borders because we are determined, encouraged and mobilised,” he said.
He, however, said that the seized items will be forfeited to the federal government after it has been condemned by the court of competent jurisdiction.