…Arrested 60 suspects, Recovers Over N400Million as Revenue
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Despite the removal of the fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023, a move that is expected to make fuel smuggling out of Nigeria unattractive, there are indications that some diehard smugglers are still engaging in the nefarious activity.
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service said on Wednesday that it intercepted 218,575 litres of premium Motor Spirit (PMS) alongside other sundry seizures.
The Acting Controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of customs, Deputy Comptroller Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu while addressing a Mid-Year press conference on Wednesday at the Ikeja Lagos office said that for the period under review, the unit made 580 seizures with a duty-paid value of N4,022,960,075.
He said the unit also arrested 60 suspects and recovered a total of N400,599,515.66 as revenue through the issuance of demand notices.
Notable among other seizures made by the command includes;
14,015 (7,728) parcels of Indian Hemp, 1,064 bales of used clothing
450 x 106 kg drums of carbide, 2 x 20 containers of unprocessed wood.
Others are; 1,448 pieces of foreign rugs, 30 units of used motorcycles, 44 units of used vehicles (Tokunbo), 218,575 litres of premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 860 cartons of foreign poultry products and 833 pieces of used tyres.
Speaking, Ejibunu said “We wish to express our profound gratitude to sister security agencies for their unflinching synergy in the course of our operations; special mention to the Department of State Security Services- Oyo State Command for the arrest of a notorious suspect that was on the wanted list for attack on a Customs patrol team escorting exhibits. Interestingly, this suspect was arrested and handed over the Unit yesterday.
“Through the federal high courts, 11 suspects were convicted for committing offences of improper importation, assault of Customs officers, being in possession of foreign parboiled rice and for being in possession of Pangolin scales meant for export. While some other smuggling and related cases instituted in the courts are at various stages of prosecution and would be followed up diligently.
“Prominent among the seizures is rice which amounts to 36,742 X 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice equivalent to 62 trailer loads. Some of them were ferried through bush paths using motorcycles and rickety vehicles as means of conveyance.
“Let me reiterate that for the second half of 2023, our onslaught against smugglers will be fiercer with a renewed determination to uncover them using intelligence-backed enforcement. We shall get recalcitrant traders and their agents arrested and prosecuted in addition to seizing their wares.
“At this point, members of the trading community are advised to further embrace compliance and shun any act that would place them on the wrong side of the law. We advise them to keep themselves abreast of the import and export prohibition lists because claims of ignorance will not suffice as an excuse whenever they are caught”