By Steve Agbota
The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Strike Force, Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said that the Service arrested four suspected smugglers in connection with the smuggling of 13 trucks of foreign rice, 966 slabs of Donkey skin and other contraband worth a total duty paid value (DPV) ₦7.432 billion.
The Coordinator of CGC Strike Force, DC Mohammed Yusuf, disclosed this while presenting its scorecard for the half year of 2022, saying importing what Nigeria can produce threatens the nation’s economy.
According to him, unlawful felling of trees degrades the environment and promotes deforestation while the illegal killing of wildlife creatures and endangered species like pangolin and donkeys for their scales and skins respectively, could lead to these animals’ extinction.
“With these and other tasks under our purview, we shall resolute and unrelenting to arrest perpetrators, seize prohibited items from them or their accomplices, and promote lawful trade using the legal instrument of the extant Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP 45LFN.
“We made seizures worth a total duty paid value (DPV) of Seven Billion, Four ₦7.433, with four (4) arrested suspects in connection with some of the seizures during the period under review. Notable among the seized items are over 8,000 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each, equivalent of 13 trucks, 1x40ft container of Tramadol, Sildenafil citrate, 1613 bottles of 100ml Codeine.
Others are 1079 bales of secondhand clothing, 3,695 pieces of used tyres, 966 slabs of Donkey skin, 77,760 pairs of new ladies’ shoes, 5,250 pairs of used shoes and 197 logs of wood,” he said.
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He said through its meticulous checks on import documents, CGC Strike Force was able to recover the sum of ₦3.140 billion through the issuance of demand notices; which was done sequel to the service discoveries of short payment of duties within the period of six months.
He added that the money recovered would have been lost, but for its vigilance and uncompromising disposition in the discharge of its duties, adding that within the same period in 2021, a total collection of ₦1.332 billion representing 73 per cent of revenue increase.
“I want to use this opportunity to reiterate that our efforts for the second half of the year are already invigorated, and we shall ensure that smugglers and enemies of our economy have no hiding place within our area of responsibility.
“May I use this medium to once again, advise all importers, agents, haulage operators and the entire business community operating in the South West to keep themselves abreast with the import and export prohibition lists and guidelines, as ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” he stated.