The anti-smuggling activities of the Federal Operations Unit, (FOU) Zone C, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have resulted in the seizure of 29 prohibited goods with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,07 Billion.
The confiscated goods include 2,522 bags of 50 kg foreign rice, 61,333 cartons of imported foreign poultry products, 720 cartons of foreign vegetable oil, 1,618 cartons and 1,466 pieces of furniture, 269 pieces of unused tyres.
Others were 59 cartons and 1,964 pieces of spare parts, 39 pieces of used compressors, 29 bales of second hand clothing as well as 480 pairs of used shoes and 9 vehicles of assorted types.
The goods, according to him, were seized in the South-east and South-south geopolitical zones of the country.
The Customs Area Controller of the unit (FOU Zone C), Mohammed Uba Garka, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the items seized at the premises of both the Imo/Aba Command in Owerri and Benin warehouses.
According to him, the 16 suspects, who were arrested in connection with the shady deal, are now undergoing interrogation for possible prosecution.
Beyond the above statistics, he said that the seizures represented protection of the nation’s economy and security of the citizenry.
He declared: “Let me state clearly that it is simply not enough to inform you about the seizures and its DPV, what is of paramount importance is that we are implementing government’s policies that would boost our economic growth and provide employment”, he stated
He said many of the bags of the seized 50kg foreign rice were cleverly re-bagged and re-labeled by the smugglers to beat security check points on the roads and to give the false semblance of locally produced ones. Just as some items such as body sprays were criminally used to conceal other unauthorised imported seized items”.
Mohammed lamented that accidents had continued to occur on the nation’s highways as a result of the rampant use of second hand tyres being imported by smugglers, stressing that the ban on the importation of furniture and rice was meant to encourage public patronage and consumption of the locally produced ones to further boost the nation’s economy.
“If the rampant incidence of rice importation is allowed to go on, it would definitely discourage local production and consumption with a devastating effect on our economy.”