Customs Intercepts 6 Trucks Of Rice, 23,000 Litres of Petrol From Smugglers

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), announced on Tuesday that it intercepted 60 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N854.1 million in January 2024 from suspected smugglers in the South West.

Speaking to journalists in Lagos during a press briefing, Customs Area Controller, Compt. Hussein Ejibunu, stated that the seizures included 23,025 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, and 3,653 bags (6.5 trucks) of 50kg foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country from Benin Republic.

Other items seized were 241 bales of used clothes; 1,490 kg of Indian hemp; 1,220 cartons of foreign tomato paste; 983 pieces of used tyres; 104 units of Haojuo motorcycles; 556 cartons of slippers; and 11 units of used vehicles.

According to him, smuggling has serious repercussions on the economy, the environment, health, and security, thereby calling for collaboration and strong partnership with other critical stakeholders through sharing of information and intelligence.

He said, “Smuggling involves the act of false declaration and concealment of goods, the use of unapproved routes and ports for the exportation or importation of goods, forging customs documents, willful underpayment of customs duties, and trafficking in prohibited or restricted goods, among others.

The impact of smuggling has very serious repercussions on the economy, the environment, health, and security. Thus, to curb this trend of illegal commercial activities, there is a need for collaboration and strong partnership with other critical stakeholders through sharing of information and intelligence.

“In a continuous and renewed vigor to fight smuggling, we activated an enhanced intelligence gathering and information sharing mechanism, and were able to identify some new smuggling hotspots and schemes employed by smugglers. This strategy yielded 60 seizures worth a total duty paid value of N854.1 million.

“The status of these goods contravened different sections of the Customs Act (2023), while some were expired at the time of importation; others flouted the import statutory guidelines. A total of ten suspects were arrested in connection with some of the goods.”

He also disclosed that the unit recovered N83.14 million from importers who paid lesser Customs Duty to the federal government at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports.

The revenue, according to him, was recovered through documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on consignments that had been short-paid.

“On revenue recovery, a sum of N83.14 million was generated through documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on consignments found to have been short-paid,” he stated.

He also warned the public against the consequences of smuggling, emphasizing its harmful effects.

“The general public is encouraged to be aware of the consequences of smuggling and its harmful effects; this awareness will help to reduce the demand for smuggled goods and discourage individuals from participating in smuggling activities.

“Having established that smuggling is a crime that affects the general well-being of the nation, it becomes compelling for all patriotic citizens to join the enforcement and regulatory agencies in curbing the menace of smuggling,” he stated.

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