By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has added two gunboats and two logistics boats from management of the service between March 28th and 3rd of April 2023 respectively.
The Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Comptroller Oduadu Salefu who disclosed this in a media conference in Lagos on Tuesday, said that the command intercepted contraband goods with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N110.2 million, between January to March 2023.
He said the seizures were recorded in 15 incidents.
Compt Selefu informed journalists that three other watercrafts are being expected from the manufacturer, bringing the total number of new crafts to seven.
According to him, the two existing boats of the command; MV Group of Nine and MV Customs Pride are currently undergoing repairs and would soon be deployed to complement the new ones.
Salefu said that the cumulative analysis of seizures was 1,519 bags of 50kg-size foreign parboiled rice; 8,825 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) contained in 468 kegs of 25 liters each.
Others he listed as 700 pairs of foreign-used shoes; 20 used foreign ladies’ bags; 88 cartons of Caro White Cream (beaching cream), 50 pairs of expired tyres, 3 Outboard boat engines and one water pumping machine.
“All items were seized at various intervals within the period under review,” he said.
He added that following enforcement operations, five suspects had been arrested and granted administrative bail, pending when they will be arraigned in Court.
“In line with the responsibilities conferred on the NCS by the provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria LFN 2004 as amended, the command continues to suppress smuggling along the South-Western waterways and Creeks.
“All actions of our operatives are in line with the provisions of Sections 149 (Power to vehicles/ship) and 158 (Power to patrol freely) of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the importation of foreign parboiled rice, HS Code 1006.30.1000, is restricted in Nigeria by the Federal government since March 2016.
“Any improper importation of foreign rice, contrary to allowed trade route restriction, is liable to forfeiture, further to section 46 of the Customs and Excise Management Act(CEMA) Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended,” he said.
The customs boss disclosed that five suspects were been arrested within the period but have been granted administrative bail pending when charges will be proffered against them in court
Comptroller Salefu noted that currently, some personnel from the command are undergoing training with the Nigerian Navy on maritime safety and security stressing that the service has continued to train and retrain officers and men on seafaring activities.