The Seme border command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday said it seized contraband goods worth over N2.9 billion smuggled into the country through Benin Republic border.
While displaying the seized items to journalists yesterday, the Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, said the bags of rice seized were equivalent to 27 trailers and worth N302.4 million and 21 exotic vehicles worth N135 million between September and November 2018.
According to him, 57 packs of tramadol worth N11 million, 40 pieces of used textiles valued at N774,270 and 115 cartons of imported frozen poultry products worth N728,654. He added that “during these two months, our resolute determination to succeed resulted in an impressive revenue generation of N1.9 billion realised for the period under review.
Similarly, the uncompromising stance of the enforcement unit led to the seizure of 850 items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N378 million. 57 x 50litre jerry cans of vegetable oil worth N400,440 and 111 pieces of used tyres worth N859,345 were also seized.
Others are 50litre jerry cans of petroleum products worth N300,572 378, 50kg bags of sugar with DPV of N7,394,521 and 40 pieces of used textiles worth N774,270, 387 sacks of coconut valued at N2,313,360 and general goods worth N52,005,135, making a total of N2,839,507,352.66.”
Mohammed said seven suspects who are connected to the act were arrested and in various stages of investigations and conviction.
He explained: “Beyond the above statistics, it is obvious that the seizures represent protection of the economy and security of our people. Let me state clearly that it is simply not enough to inform you about the revenue and seizures (with the DPV); what is of paramount importance is to boost our economic growth and provide employment for our teeming youths.
“Take, for instance, the government policy on rice; the rationale behind the policy is geared towards self-sufficiency in terms of food production that would meet the demand of the citizenry. Incentives have been created for rice farmers, individuals and state governments have committed so much in terms of finance in order for this goal of self-sufficiency to be actualised.”
He said: “We as a Command cannot afford to be complacent. The dangers inherent in this illegality are too numerous to mention, hence our resolve to fight them relentlessly.
Among the seizures recorded, are imported frozen poultry products. As you are aware, such products are unhealthy and very dangerous for human consumption due to the chemical substance used in preserving them, which are carcinogenic.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we are not out to frustrate members of the public or indeed the business community, our major interest is to facilitate legitimate trade. All those who are compliant, have nothing to fear.
We remain determined to detect, arrest and prosecute those who do not comply with the extant laws regarding importation and exportation through the land borders.”