…Hails N’Assembly’s support
From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday declared that 207 smugglers were arrested in connection with 4,492 seizures worth N12,777,321,405 in 2017.
The Service also generated N1.037,102,179,400 as revenue last year, while it lost six operatives in the line of duty.
The Public Relations Officer of Customs, Joseph Attah, who disclosed this to Sunday Sun in an interview said the seizures included: 2,671 pump action rifles, dangerous/illicit drugs, vehicles, among other contraband.
While describing the feat as a fallout of the reinvigorated anti-smuggling operations of the Service, Attah also hailed the National Assembly for all the support it gave the Customs.
“We are going to deepen the relationship this year and despite the negative reports in some sections of the media, I am convinced the NASS has been of tremendous support to us”, he said.
According to Attah, experiences in 2017 showed that making seizures and managing same remained the most challenging.
“This is because seizures do not only deprive the smugglers ownership; it is capable of sending the smugglers to jail. The fear of these possibilities leads to resistance, which comes in various ways like mobilizing hoodlums to block the road and attack operatives; inducing border community dwellers to provide shelter for them (smugglers); using dangerous weapons resulting to injuries and even death.
“Apart from the difficulty, officers and men also face post-seizure challenges like cordoning and restricting unauthorized access; transporting the goods from point of interception to Customs station; crowd control/crisis management – injuries/death; among others.
“While perishable items, such as frozen poultry products and other dangerous items are immediately destroyed, others have to wait for judicial process of court condemnation before they can be disposed off in line with the law”, he said.
Attah revealed the Customs in the last 22 months distributed various relief materials to Internally Diplsaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Yobe, Edo Borno and Adamawa States.
They include: 421 trailer loads (252,666) bags of 50kg rice worth N3,789,990,000; 82,140 jerry cans of 25-litre vegetable oil worth N985,680,000; 19,491 cartons of soap with value worth N52,625,700.
Other items are 57,487 bales of used clothes, 16,517 pairs of slippers, 11,674 cartons of spaghetti 11,674 cartons, macaroni 1,169 cartons), palm oil (60 jerry cans), slippers footwear, among others.
The Customs Spokesman, however said that despite tonnes of rice and other relief items already transferred to the IDPs, the NCS warehouses across the country were still filled with rice.
On the e-auction process for disposing seized goods, Attah said 646 vehicles have been won with N272,115,366 generated as revenue for the Federal Government.