Co-ordinator of the Comptroller General’s Compliance Team, Assistant Comptroller Musa Ibrahim Jalo, has said that the team recovered over a billion naira through debit notes (DNs). This is as he has denied running a parallel squad to the Area Commands nationwide.
According to him, the new team was set up to complement the efforts of the Area Controllers in the states. “We are working in concert with the commands to nip smuggling in the bud,” he said.
Jalo stated that to give credence to this unity of purpose, the team has recovered more than a billion naira as revenue through the issuance of DNs to importers who were not able to pay appropriate duties or who had the knack to evade such duties.
“Comptroller Haruna Momodu, is in charge of Federal Operations Unit (FOU). I am under him; we work hand-in-hand and we complement his efforts,” he said.
The Coordinator stated that their mandate is to suppress smuggling through the land borders, seaports and airports. Though, he said they do not have their men at the airports, on information they can strike at any moment. According to him, the success of his assignment is based on information and for one to get quality intelligence, one has to invest in it.
He assured that all the logistics for a smooth operation has been provided by the Comptroller-General and the management of the customs.
On the ways and manner of its approach to sourcing of revenue, he said when a containerised cargo is arrested and it is discovered that appropriate duties were not paid, his team was empowered to issue an order for an upgrade in the revenue through the instrument of a debit note which is thereafter forwarded to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) or any command for payment.
Since the inauguration of the team in July last year, several goods have been intercepted valued at millions of naira. They include thousands of bags of rice; vehicles including bullet-proof cars, poultry products, vegetable oil, hides and skin as well as imported furniture.
He stated that most of the eye-popping seizures made were based on co-ordinated information. “We trail the people right from the source; for instance, the importers or smugglers of cars, are trailed from Benin Republic up to a safer area where we can arrest. Like you know, we are not to arrest anything that is not on Nigeria’s soil, so we devote time to trail the smugglers. It is not an easy job but we are attacking the challenges head on. With more than 1000 workforce and more than 100 vehicles, the co-ordinator said he is confident that smuggling will be fought like never before.
Jalo said the war on smuggling is already a huge success with the coming of the CG Compliance Team. According to him, his men are making great seizures across the country, while raising the bar in revenue generation. With the latest ban on vehicle importation through the land border, we have been intercepting new vehicles especially the SUV’s and other expensive cars like Hilux. He said more than 50 of such dainty cars were seized recently in Kano and Kaduna.
On whether his team can conveniently handle the surge in smuggling activities, he said with the structure of the compliance team on ground there was no way they can fail. “If you recall, I have commanders scattered all over the country; in the western zone, a chief superintendent leads a team of other sector commanders in sensitive land border routes.
Jalo noted that the structure and think tank of the CG Compliance Team in Lagos with relevant unit officers in the administrative, revenue and examination unit headed by Chief Superintendent Nwokocha has the capacity to seize goods, generate revenue which ordinarily would have been lost through the evasion of duties and ensuring provision of adequate day-to-day logistics to field officers.
The heat on smugglers of rice, he noted, has been yielding dividends with no less than 17 trailers of rice, vegetable oil, as well as other articles recently seized in the Kano/Jigawa axis. On whether the team has been able to make in-roads in identifying arms smugglers, he said they were working hard in this regard in view of the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the country, assuring however that with the eagle-eyed officers in his taskforce, arms smugglers can hardly slip off its water-tight network.