The Strike Force of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in Zone ‘A’, said it has raised a Debit Notes (DN) worth more than N1.104 billion from importers of cargo that pays lesser Customs duties into the Federal Government coffers from the six area commands of the service in the South West.
The Co-ordinator of the Strike force, Assistant Comptroller Abba Kakudi, in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday said the amount generated through the Debits Notes was in the last six months.
According to him, “the seizures were between January 1 and June 11, 2020, adding that in spite of COVID-19 pandemic, which affected movement of goods, the Strike force team were able to raise DN to the tune of N1.104 billion.”
Speaking on the seizures, he said in the last two weeks, the Strike force team has given a hard chase to smugglers who were desperate to unleash economic dislocation on the country.
Giving the details of the seizures, he added that, “Our seizures include; 1000 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice with the Duty Payment Value (DPV) 13.252 million; 10 Tokunbo vehicles with DPV N31.184 million and 30 bales of second-hand clothing with DPV of N2.160 million. It is important to say that in order to help the economy to grow, there is no need to import what we can produce here in Nigeria or bringing in prohibited items.
“The Federal Government has encouraged a lot of rice farmers in the country, where local rice is being produced in large quantity and even healthier than foreign rice. Traders should avail themselves of this opportunity to market our indigenous products in such a way, as to grow the economy maximally.
“You will be surprised that in a bid to police the smugglers from bringing in these prohibited products, our officers face a lot of dangers as most of the smugglers are armed, sometimes not necessarily with rifles but machetes, charms and other dangerous weapons, but we are not overwhelmed.
“This ugly situation is experienced more around the creaks where inhabitants mobilise some under-aged people against us, to the extent of calling us names as well as some stoning us, all in a bid to prevent us from making or securing seizures.”
He, therefore, appealed to those who believe that smuggling is very lucrative to desist from it as Customs officers are always a step above them in all their plots and strategies, saying that a smuggler is an economic saboteur and such trade cannot be the best means of livelihood due to inherent dangers as well as loses to those behind it.
He lamented that smuggling ruins the economy of any nation, adding that a lot of incentives have been provided by the Federal Government to revamp the nation’s economy and it should not be allowed to be reversed.