By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS has said that it has collected the sum of two hundred and twelve billion, five hundred and ninety-two million, six hundred and eighty thousand, seven hundred naira, ninety -nine Kobo (N212,592,680,700.99) between the months of January and March 2023.
The command has also intercepted 143,800,000 tablets of tramadol 225mg which were discovered in 720 cartons weighing 10.3 tonnes (10.386kg) that originated from India.
Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed who made this disclosure at a press briefing in Apapa on Tuesday stated that the tramadol consignment was uncovered on Friday, 31 March, 2023, concealed in 2x40ft container with numbers; TRHU 4758549 and TRHU 6936803
According to him, this single seizure is valued at twenty-one billion, six hundred million naira (N21,600,000,000.00).
Speaking on the other anti-smuggling prowess of the command, Compt Auwal maintained that within the period under review, the command made seizures of fourteen (14) containers comprising of prohibited goods such as Vegetable oil, footwear, used clothing, unprocessed woods and tramadol tablets with a Duty Paid Value of twenty-two billion, ninety-nine million, six hundred and eighteen thousand, one hundred and eleven naira (N22,099,618,111).
Speaking, he said “We are on the lookout for those behind such unlawful importation for arrest and very soon, we will track them down to face the full wrath of the law. As a Service, we owe Nigerians a duty to prevent this kind of importation from entering the market to safeguard the health of the citizenry.
“Let me use this opportunity to warn perpetrators of smuggling, duty evasion, and other forms of criminality frowned upon by the Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA and other extant laws, that Apapa command will only facilitate legitimate trade.”
In terms of export, Compt Auwal stated that the command processed agricultural goods such as Sesame seeds, ginger, Hibiscus, mineral resources, steel ingots and others with a total tonnage of 110,448 metric tonnes in the first quarter of 2023.
He added that statistics from the export report showed that the exported goods were worth seventy billion, two hundred million, eight hundred and twenty-nine thousand, three hundred and fifty-eight naira, sixty-seven Kobo (N70,200,829,358,67) which he said was equivalent to Free On Board, FOB value of $159,845,232.84.
On stakeholders engagement and inter-agency collaboration, Comptroller Mohammed pointed out that since assumption of office in the command in January this year, he had been meeting with various stakeholder groups comprising importers, exporters, licensed customs agents, freight forwarders and others, saying “I am to note that these meetings are yielding good result and will be sustained in the days ahead.”
He insisted that Apapa command had a deliberate culture of inter-agency collaboration with other government agencies noting that within the last three months, he had enjoyed robust sharing of credible intelligence and support from other agencies of government.