The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘C’, Owerri, has beamed its torch on smugglers of contraband goods in the country resulting in the seizure of a total of one hundred and sixty-nine (169) items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of #1,379,772,517.00 within the period.
Report reaching us from Owerri said 42 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures made, while 25 cases are now pending in court for possible prosecution of the culprits between January and June this year.
This is in contrast to a total of #39,644,813.00 underpayment recovered and a DPV of #1,013,833,362.00 which the unit recorded in the year 2015.
The Customs Area Controller in charge of the unit, Comptroller Haruna Mammudu, who disclosed this in a press release signed by the Public Relations Officer in Owerri, Assistant Superintendent of Customs II Onuigbo, Ifeoma; made available to Maka Ndigbo, said that the banned items were confiscated by the vigilant officers and men of the unit on the Benin, Calabar, Owerri, Enugu and Aba/Eleme axis within the zone.
According to the Comptroller, the items, which were packaged and concealed in such a manner as to deceive security agents on duty, include 90 vehicles; 2,758 bags of 50kg rice; 4,160 pieces of used tyres; 1,337 cartons/set of furniture and 625 cartons of fake drugs (medicaments).
Others include 61 containers of log of wood; 2,600 pieces of imported school bags; 97 pieces of 14 stroke engine generator and used fridges; 3,550 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products; 992 bales of second hand clothings; 897 cartons of foreign detergents and creams as well as 167 pairs of foot wear.
Comptroller Haruna, while professing the preparedness of the NCS to tackle the scourge of smuggling of unauthorized goods into the country, expressed delight at the seizure profile recorded during the first six (6) months of the year 2016 as against that made last year.
However, he re-emphasised the dangers and implications inherent in the smuggling of illegal and unauthorised goods into the country, noting that while the ugly practice had continued to deal a devastating blow on the nation’s economy, many families had been ruined as a result of the dastardly unpatriotic practice.
The CAC, therefore, appealed to Nigerians who were still trapped in the illicit cancer of smuggling to retract their ugly steps in their own interest, warning that the Nigeria Customs Service was now better equipped, trained, motivated and reinvigorated to neutralise the antics of smugglers and to dislodge them wherever they hibernate to perpetrate their evil acts.