By Steve Agbota, Lagos
The Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted five containers concealed with 16,920 expired bottle water of 1.5 litres, 2,655 used tyres and 2,772 kegs of vegetable oil worth N55.7 million in duty paid value.
The Command reports that it generated N7.969 billion as customs duty and other charges in the first quarter of 2021, which surpassed the N5.8 billion made in the first quarter of 2020.
Showcasing the seizures at the press briefing on Thursday, the Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Hammi Swomen, said the revenue generated represents a 36.8 per cent increase in duty collected when compared to the revenue generated in the first quarter of last year, adding that the revenue has been remitted into the federation account.
Speaking on the seizures, he said that the bottle water named Augus-Towanka loaded in one container was initially declared as Vodka, an alcoholic drink, adding that profiling the container, it was discovered it contained bottle water, which has already expired and not fit for human consumption.
He added that the Command is investigating the matter to get to the bottom of the issue because it is a case of fraudulent importation.
He said that the used tyres were concealed in one containers with two cars have a duty paid value of N21.589 million.
He said the used tyres have safety issues and lost structural integrity, which the importation is prohibited under schedule 3 item no.14 of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) 2017-2021 Import Prohibition List Trade.
‘The 2,772 pieces of 5 litres of the vegetable oil loaded in three containers have dupty paid value of N28,656 million was imported from spain. As you all know, the vegetable oil is prohibited for import under ECOWAS Common External Tariff for trade,’ he said.
However, he said that the Command has a lot of changes, saying that one of the challenges is the issue of gridlock, which made difficult for port users, men and officers to access the the Command on daily basis.
‘Agents cannot come in, importers cannot come in and other stakeholders cannot come in as well. Most of us finding our ways coming in are on hypertensive drugs,’ he said.
He said that upon the challenges, the Command is now generating N3 billion monthly as revenue, which he said it has never happen in the Command before.