By Steve Agbota, Lagos
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Strike Force Unit, Zone A, has recovered N5.8 billion from importers who refused to pay accurate duty to the federal government’s coffers.
The CGC strike Force said that it intercepted 5,124 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa along the coast of Lekki, Lagos.
This was disclosed by the team lead, CGC’s Strike force, Mohammed Yusuf, at a press briefing in Lagos, on Wednesday, said among the items seized in 2022 included, 225mg of tramadol, 100mg of sildenafil citrate, codeine cough syrup, used tyres, bales of second hand clothing, bags of foreign parboiled rice, containers of timber, pangolin scales, slabs of Donkey skin, Cannabis Sativa among others.
According to him, while the unit intercepted N5.8 billion from Demand Notice (DN) from fraudulent importers between January and December, 2022, the unit also seized different contrabands worth N9 billion, saying that year 2022 witnessed a robust anti-smuggling drive marked by tremendous success by the unit.
“The sum of N5.8 billion was generated as revenue through demand notices from January to December 2022. Let me once again sound this as a warning to all unpatriotic importers and their agents who go the extra mile in daring us. We shall not only make seizures, but our ever vigilant operatives will also get them arrested to face the full wrath of the law,” he said.
Yusuf, however, warned that that the team had already reinvigorated their round-the-clock operations. He said the contraband with an estimated duty paid value of N516 million was intercepted following a credible intelligence in January 2023. He added that the contrabands were being moved directly from the ship to trucks before his men intercepted them.
“The Cannabis was intercept following a credible intelligence, we intercepted it somewhere around Lekki along the coast in the midnight. On getting there we saw a lot of men loading the contrabands from the boat directly into the truck despite the sea waves. Immediately our officers got there, they discovered that they have already loaded the first truck; they were loading the second and third truck when we got there.
“And they were pandemonium, like I said earlier, when we got there, we saw some other agencies, we don’t know who they were. But after lots of heated argument, we were able to take this truck down to our office, the people who were loading the consignment ran away,” he said.
Yusuf said they were able to take one truck because it has already been loaded, parked outside and was waiting to be taken out before his men busted them.
“This particular truck was parked outside while they were loading the other two trucks, they never knew we were coming. So they had loaded this truck and kept it outside. So when we came, while they were arguing we decided it is better we take the ones are seeing and also for the safety of our officers. So one of officers drove the truck,” he said.