April 19, 2024

Customs FOU Zone ‘A’ Floods Open Market With Smuggled Food Items

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Customs FOU Zone ‘A’ Floods Open Market With Smuggled Food Items

By Ossy Onyenwezi

Owing to rising cost of food items and a bid to help caution the effect coupled with the need to crash exponential costs in the open markets while also ameliorating the biting hunger the Federal Operations Unit ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service has seized three export bound trucks headed for the Republic of Benin conveying 880 bags of white beans, 584 bags of onions and 18 bags of dry pepper at Ajilete/Idiroko road in Ogun state.

The Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu while speaking with the press on the activities of the Unit for February detailed that “Due to violation of various sections of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and the federal government import and export prohibition guidelines, we vigorously and relentlessly prosecuted our anti-smuggling campaign which resulted in a total number of 93 seizures, arrest of 9 suspects made to prevent smuggling and protect our national economy. The seizures made are worth a total duty paid value of N751,127,025.00”

His words “These outcomes were achieved despite the unrepentant behaviours of economic saboteurs who deploy many tricks and antics to beat our checks but they failed. A reference case is the smuggling of foreign parboiled rice in petroleum jerrycans along Ajilete in Ogun state which is not only illegal but also exposes the potential consumers to the risk of eating contaminated grains that have ingested poisonous properties possibly from premium motor spirit (PMS), diesel, or other petroleum products”.

“We also prevented the smuggling of eleven exotic used vehicles worth over N200m into the country through our area of responsibility. Smugglers of these vehicles met our stiff resistance against their duty evasion and deviant behaviour. The sum of N78,164,255.20 was recovered as revenue into the federation account through the issuance of demand notices (DN) on Customs duties that were discovered to be underpaid”.

The head of the interventionist unit added that “As usual, rice was top on the list of our February 2024 seizures in terms of volume and value. A total of 3,779 X 50kg bags of suspected foreign rice equivalent to over 7 trailer loads worth over N365m were seized from various parts of the southwest. Other items seized in the month under review include one locally made gun and six pieces of empty cartridges at Abeokuta road, 731 parcels of Indian hemp weighing 482kg, 1 X 40ft container found to contain 286 cartons of new rubber slippers, 7 units of used motorcycles, 28,000 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS) and 2,420 pieces of used tyres”.

He concluded that the trucks of seized rice and beans “were re-directed to the Nigerian markets where they were sold to Nigerians by the owners”.

Comptroller Ejibunu urges law-abiding citizens to continue with their legitimate trade as he also discourages non-conforming and illegitimate traders to desist from carrying out their nefarious activities.

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