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The Nigerian Custom Service (NCS), Seme Command has intercepted two cross border syndicates conveying fake $6 million equivalent of N2.763 billion exchange rate of N460.52 from Nigeria to the Republic of Benin.
The Customs Area Controller, Seme Border Command, Comptroller. Dera Nnadi, at a press briefing after displaying some of the seized items stated that the arrest was made at its Gbaji checkpoint along the Seme corridor on the 31st of January, 2023 on the syndicates’ way out of the country.
According to Nnadi, officers of the Seme Command rejected a bribe of $150,000 after they intercepted the $6 million fake bills, assuring that the officers would be recommended for their diligence.
He noted that the two suspects are currently in custody pending prosecution, maintaining that the Command in the last 13 days has recorded milestones in its anti-smuggling landmarks.
In the same vein, the CAC added that on the same day, its officers on patrol along Gbetrome base, also intercepted six Maltese international passports with the same picture of a lady, but bearing different names, three Senegalese International Passports, three Togolese International Passports, four Republic of Benin International Passports and one Republic of Niger International passport.
Meanwhile, he lamented that at a time when the nation is battling skyrocketing food prices amid climate change affecting farmers’ productivity, some unscrupulous elements were still indulging in the illicit business of trading herbicides that have expired since 2015.
He stressed that the implication of this trade has negative impact on food security and consumer safety.
According to him, the dangerous syndicate is suspected of indulging in cross border criminal activities.
He stated that at a time when the country is experiencing fuel scarcity, it intercepted over 1,300 by 30 litres Jerry can of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) equivalent 39.000 litres roughly over one fuel taker load of PMS with duty paid value of N9, 366.45 only seized from along the creeks.
Other items seized include 55 sacks containing 550 pieces of donkey skin with DPV of N 11.371.511, pointing out that the significance of the seizure is to show how much the nation’s endanger species are being eroded by unpatriotic elements.
“Upon my resumption, I pledged to adopt new strategies to boost trade while enforcing the nation’s anti-smuggling laws along the Abidjan Lagos Corridor (ALCO) in line with the ECOWAS protocols on free movement of goods and persons. Recall that I promised to encourage compliant traders along the corridor while dealing decisively with obstinate criminals who will wish to test our resolve,” he said.
He said so far, the Command has facilitated the movement of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme of where 70 Trucks with fees amounting to N 1. 414, 665.0l were collected, 81 baggage declarations with duty amounting to N 4, 520, 722, saying that items imported under this arrangement include food products and beverages produced within the sub-region.
He also stated that the Command reordered only five declarations of import within this period with a total of N13.383.104 paid as duty, pointing out that the dearth in import is as a result of the trade policy introduced in Republic of Benin which traders and indeed the Service consider hostile to Nigeria
On export, he said 122 trucks bearing 3,770.49 metric tonnes of made in Nigeria cargo with Free On Board (FoB) value of N523.660,496 and National Export Supervision Scheme Fes of N2,618,302.10K was generated.
“It is important to note that the 2022 fiscal Policy Measures by the Federal Ministry of Finance lifted the ban on export of goods imported into Nigeria hitherto prohibited under item 8 Schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff,” he said.
He said the core mandate of the Service in Seme includes generation of revenue for the Federal Government, suppression of smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade.
“It is worthy of note that the major source of revenue of the Command (import/export) have not been enhanced since the opening of the land Borders as directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the traders are still bracing with the challenges of having been out of business for over two years,” he lamented.
Also speaking, the Coordinator, National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Seme Command, Dr Nurudeen Audu, any product traded in the Nigerian market must have expiration date, manufacturing batch number and address of manufacturer for traceability
“We have what we call traceability, we trace address of the manufacturer back to the country of origin and we will engage them. This product as far as NAFDAC is concerned is fake, it is not registerable, not meant for our country, it is written with French and it is for French countries consumption,” he said.
He said: “The law of this in Nigeria is that you are not allowed to import fake product into the country.
Even when it is written in French-English, that is the first red flag because it is not mean for our country, but if it is in strictly English that means it is meant for Nigeria.”