The Seme Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it has intercepted one white Scannia truck carrying rotten hide and skin popularly known as ‘Ponmo’, 146 parcels of cannabis concealed in one red Toyota Highlander jeep and 5,204 bags of 50kg foreign rice, which are equivalent to nine trailers smuggled into the country.
However, the command said it also generated the sum of N4,405 billion from January till date, representing 65 per cent of the total allotted target revenue of the command and as well seized textiles worth N419,396 million.
Addressing newsmen, the Controller of the Command, Mohammed Uba, said
the intensified operation of the enforcement unit of the command had drastically reduced smuggling activities to the barest minimum. He said the Duty Paid Value (DPV) for the seized rice was over N70 million while the street DPV for the 146 parcel of cannabis was worth over N1.682 million.
According to him, other seizures made included 13x50kg bags of sugar with DPV of N301,965,1,078 cartons of poultry products worth N15,727,70, 55 cartons of spaghetti with DPV of N212,924, 97. cartons of soap worth N619,820, 59, cartons of insecticides with DPV of N761,365, 65×6 yards of textiles worth N419,396.
He said others were 17 sacks of used clothes/shoes worth N435,897, four cartons of tined tomatoes with DPV of N29,179, 36 bales of used cloths N1,942,920, 60 pieces of used tyres with a total DPV of N774,270, 669 packs of PVC carpet/foot mats worth N11,844,768, two cartons of cream with DPV of N18,066.
He added that nine trucks placed on detention due to short payment, adding that a total five vehicles had also been seized with duty paid value of N7,549,132 while the total DPV for the whole seizures within the three weeks under review was N112,486,270.
Garba stated that one suspect was arrested in connection with one of the seizures. He further sounded a note of warning to those who engaged in illegal activities and other cross-border vices to avoid Seme border or risk arrest and possible prosecution.
He, therefore, urged all unit heads to ensure adequate supervision of their subordinates in order to facilitate legitimate trade across the frontier while equally keeping a healthy relationship with the critical stakeholders.
He said: “This will ensure that our core mandate as directed is achieved. The holistic approach in executing the mandate of the service, will lead to an all-encompassing result as revenue generation, suppression of smuggling and legitimate trade facilitation will be adequately enhanced at the Lagos –Abidjan corridor without compromising national security.”
The comptroller assured members of both local and business communities that the command would increase dialogue, enlightenment and robust stakeholder engagements for seamless operations through the modern Joint Border Post, which is the first of its kind in the West African sub-region designed to promote regional integration, reduce clearing times at the border, increase government revenue, improve the free movement of persons and goods, eliminate corruption and loss of revenue at the borders, reduction of delays, operating cost and availability of baseline data for impact assessment.