By Steve Agbota
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Strike Force Unit, said it raised debit notes worth N1billion from importers, shippers and clearing in the last three months.
The service also said smugglers now make use of cattle, camels, vehicle fuel compartment, used tyres and booths to smuggle rice and other dangerous goods into the country.
Speaking yesterday, the Officer in charge of the unit, DC Ahmadu Bello Shuaibu, said the amount generated would have been lost to smugglers, fraudulent importers and clearing agents who under declared their cargoes at the seaports. He stated further that the unit in the last three months intercepted foreign parboiled rice, printed label materials, used vehicles, textiles material, used tyres and secondhand clothing.
He however, charged importers involved in false declaration of cargoes and under declaration to turn a new leaf and by making true declarations.
He said: “The Comptroller General, Strike Force Zone A of the NCS generated N1.03 billion from debit note on major and minor infractions on cargoes that exited the seaport, the Tin-Can Island and Apapa ports. “The essence of the strike force ICT and raising of alerts on consignments is to raise debit notes. Also, importers and agents that we got this huge debit notes from won’t appreciate us for what we have done but would castigate us.”
DC Shuaibu also raised the alarm on the new methods used by smugglers to smuggle contrabands especially rice into the country.
He said: smugglers now endanger lives of Nigerians by smuggling cargoes using car booths, fuel compartment, tyres, vehicle engines among other devicess.
This type of rice when seized are regarded as hazardous items.”
Meanwhile, spokesman of the Service, Mr Joseph Attah, has said the N1billion generated from alert in the first quarter has justified the creation of the Strike force Unit.
He also said the new method used by smugglers have shown that big vehicles can no longer be used to smuggle rice and other contrabands into the country.
“We have suppressed smuggling to the extent that they no long make use of big trucks, vehicles, motorcycles to smuggle anymore. They now make use of camels, cattle, and donkeys to move them in trickles.
For instance, the three wonder cars were reconstructed and redesigned for the purpose of smuggling. They are reconstructed to get as much rice as possible, the smugglers can no longer use trucks and motorcycles because they are becoming difficult due to the anti-smuggling drives of our officers.”