By Uche Usim
Anti-smuggling operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Lagos, have in the last two weeks arrested 34 suspected smugglers over 268 different seizures valued at more than N360,198,250.
Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru, who disclosed this yesterday said the latest feat was as a result of concerted war on smuggling.
The seized contraband recorded within the last 14 days are: 3,374 bags of rice with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N22,093,500; 11,854 cartons of frozen poultry with a DPV of N64,011,60; 23 units and 12 cut buses and 2,003 gallons of vegetable oil. Others are new/used textile materials; new/used foot wears; new/used handbags, used tyres, electrical pad, fridges, furniture, soap and detergents, among others.
According to the Controller, “these were made in recent weeks as a result of the latest approach of all inclusiveness adopted by the unit towards tackling smuggling. The latest strategy is aimed at enhancing and strengthening surveillance on smugglers in their desperate attempt to circumvent the Federal Government’s policy on trade.
“This latest innovative approach became necessary in view of the fact that there is a compelling need to design appropriate templates to fight smuggling in view of its devastating effect on the nation’s economy,” he said.
He noted that the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, and the management have been holding regular meetings with select Controllers of Federal Operations Unit, the Eastern/Western Marine Commands, the Customs Intelligent Unit as well as the Valuation Unit to see ways of promoting legitimate trade and plugging revenue leakages.
Dahiru added that the FOU Zone A, as the flagship enforcement command, has raised the standard of its anti-smuggling campaign.
“This is evident from the quality and quantity of seizures which we have made in recent times. It is instructive to note that our Key Performance Index (KPI) is on seizures, being an enforcement arm of the service and we are not relenting.
“If you visit the government warehouse where we deposit these seizures, you will be overwhelmed at the volume recorded. The fight against smuggling is quite an enormous task and we have over the period re-engineered our operational modalities to meet up with the emerging challenges,” he stated.