FOU ‘A’ Seizes N2.8bn Expired Drinks, Cannabis, Other Items

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Eromosele Abiodun
The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that it has within six weeks made seizures with duty paid value of N2,826,486,890, which includes 1009 cartons of expired drinks labeled in Chinese language uncovered in a Lagos warehouse, cannabis and other items.

The unit said it also arrested two prime suspects who masterminded the attack and killing of two customs officers in Ogun State recently.

Acting Controller of the unit, Deputy Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu who briefed journalists on anti smuggling activities of the unit in the last six weeks disclosed that he worked on credible intelligence indicating that contraband items were stored in a warehouse where the expired drinks were seized

The unit according to him made the seizure to prevent unsuspecting Nigerians from consuming the products since it could be sold out during the yuletide period.

Ejibunu who conducted reporters round the government warehouse also displayed other seized items including,13,342 bags of 50kg smuggled parboiled rice; 3,696 pieces ;175 sacks of used shoes; 285 cartons of Basmati rice ; 464 cartons of Tomato paste and 694 bales of secondhand clothing,

Other seizures include 5,413 cartons of Medicaments without NAFDAC Numbers or Certification; 907 kilograms of Indian hemp (Cannabis sativa); 1,224 cartons of frozen poultry products; 148 pieces of used compressor; 5x20ft containers of wood – rough and semi-processed meant for export which causes deforestation in Nigeria and 2x40ft containers of charcoal – meant for export.

Also seized are 1,111 kegs of PMS at 25 litres each – meant to be smuggled to neigbhouring countries thereby creating artificial fuel scarcity in Nigeria; 177 kegs of vegetable oil at 25 litres each; 231 pieces of used tyres; 56 units of used fridges; 28 units of used motorcycles 59 vehicles used as means of conveyance
Within the period, Ejibunu said the command made revenue from it’s intervention and will continually confront smugglers proactively as yuletide approaches

He said, “In recovery of lost revenues, the revenue generated within the period under review through our interventions is put at N 104,377,682.25. This period of the year usually has the tradition of springing high level smuggling activities all over the country with particular reference to South West Zone that I superintend.

“Being very much aware of the foregoing known facts, this Unit proactively marshaled out strategies to put the activities of smugglers in check. The application of these strategies, which for security reasons are not to be made public, provoked the avalanche of seizures showcased today.

“I must unequivocally state that the smugglers themselves keep devising new tactics to beat our operatives to it inclusive of readiness to eliminate officers. We are never deterred by their antics. We remain committed to the mandate given to us by the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) – Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and his Management.”

He added, “The tremendous support the Unit has enjoyed and is still enjoying cannot be overemphasized. Just 2 weeks ago, the CGC provided 16 new operational Hilux vehicles for the Unit; a Largesse that has never been enjoyed by the Unit. Beside provision of operational vehicles, the CGC pays very close attention to the performance by the Unit, which has translated into always sending Letters of Commendation to the Unit.

“The aforementioned seizures are informed by sheer contravention of relevant extant laws and for purposes of public enlightenment, the Federal Government has since banned the importation of rice across land borders.

Under Schedule 4 of the Common External Tariff, which covers Absolute Prohibition List of goods by importation, secondhand clothing falls on Item 17. Under Schedule 3,, which is Revised Import Prohibition List, Used tyre is under Item 16, Frozen Poultry Product is on Item 1, Vegetable Oil on Item 4 and unprocessed wood for export falls under Schedule 6 Item 4.”