By Jerry Aguigbo
The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ has clamped down on suspected illegal smugglers of unprocessed timber. The Unit had recently intercepted three trucks conveying six 6×20ft containers of unprocessed timber meant for export.
While displaying the seizures, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘C’, Ag. ACG Olusemire Kayode, said the Unit intercepted the said items at the zonal headquarters, Port Harcourt on Monday, adding that two suspects were arrested in connection with the seized unprocessed timber in three 20ft containers
Kayode who underscored that the exportation of unprocessed timber contravenes schedule 6 of the Extant Common External Tariff (CET) noted that deforestation comes with adverse effects such as desert encroachment and environmental degradation.
Added that when tree felling is not checkmated, the ecosystem and its biodiversity are left to bear the brunt.
He condemned the economic loss which Nigeria is suffering with the exportation of unprocessed logs. Olusemire explained that employment creation which results from local processing of the logs is a vital ingredient to growth of the up coming generation of youths.
He commended the Controller of the FOU ‘C’ Comptroller Yusuf LAWAL Psc+ and officers of the Unit for their resilience, doggedness and steadfastness in tackling smuggling and cautioned against senseless attacks on the operatives while carrying out their legitimate duties.
According to a statement released from the Customs FOU zone C Unit,
“On July 16, 2021 at about 2.00pm, one of the surveillance teams of FOU Zone ‘C’, acting on credible intelligence trailed and intercepted three trucks conveying 6×20ft containers of logs of rough timber along industrial road, Port- Harcourt.
“We also arrested two suspected smugglers who were attempting to export the unprocessed logs but they have been released on administrative bail.
Also speaking, the FOU ‘C’ controller, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal psc+ said that the logs were about to be smuggled out of the country without clearance from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
Lawal gave the marks and numbers of the containers to include MSCU-3470637, MSDU-1497355, MEDU-9739916, MEDU-5627573, MSDU-6248794 and MEDU-6792783.
Continuing, he explained, “NEPC is an agency of Government which takes note of products that are meant for exportation so that the proceeds can be repatriated accordingly.
“Unfortunately NEPC is not aware of these logs and have not issued any Nigeria Export Proceeds form, further confirming therefore, that the logs were about to be smuggled out, ” he said.