As part of the unending onslaught against smugglers and perpetrators of unlawful importation into the country,operatives of Nigeria Customs Service have arrested 6 suspects and impounded goods valued at N88.9million in the month of May 2014.
Victor David Dimka, Controller of the Owerri based Federal Operations Unit disclosed this recently when briefing newsmen on the activities of his command and its achievements in the month of May.
A statement by the Ifeoma Onuigbo, the Customs Public Relations Officer disclosed that a total of 13 cases are ongoing in various high courts within the command’s area of coverage in Calabar,Cross Rivers State;Owerri,Imo State;Benin,Edo State and Enugu in Enugu State.
The command carries out anti smuggling operations in the 5 South East and 6 South South states of the federation with a network of patrol and intelligence from Benin through Port Harcourt and Owerri down to Enugu
Dimka was quoted in the statement that the command made 34 seizures of various smuggled and contraband goods in May with a breakdown of seizures indicating item seized and location of seizure and arrest with a counsel to interested buyers of vehicles to verify the authenticity of duty payment on them before making purchases.
”Out of the total number of seizures made, Dimka said that seventeen (17) were vehicles with a DPV of twenty-four million, three hundred and ninety thousand naira (#24,390,000.00); which were confiscated mainly on the Benin axis, in Edo State, Agbor and Asaba bridgehead in Delta State.”
” He advised any interested buyer of vehicle to endeavour to contact the authorities of the closest Customs formation for verification and clearance of the vehicles in question before making their payment, to avoid possible embarrassment and prosecution if proved otherwise that Customs duty was not paid on such vehicle.” the statement said.
”The Area Controller disclosed that the other items impounded on the Benin, Calabar, Owerri, Port-Harcourt/Eleme axis as well as Agbor expressway in Delta state include; a container load of two hundred and ninety-four (294) bales of textile materials with DPV of eighteen million, eight hundred and seventy-four thousand, eight hundred naira (#18,874,800.00) and three (3) trailer loaded with 50Kg imported rice comprising one thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven (1, 357) bags with a DPV of thirty-two million, four hundred and fifteen thousand naira (#32,415,000.00) and forty-eight (48) pieces of imported furniture valued at five million, one hundred and thirty-five thousand, two hundred and fifty naira (#5,135,250.00).”
Dimka added that the command’s success in prosecuting its anti smuggling battle is being made possible by the full support it enjoys from the Controller General of Customs, Dikko Abdullahi who according to him has equipped and motivated the customs personnel to bring out the best in them.
He also frowned at the die hard persistence of smugglers in the face of unrelenting and uncompromising customs enforcement and prosecution He assured that officers and men of the service with the continued support and motivation of the Comptroller-General are now fully equipped, better informed and trained to meet challenges thrown up by the excesses of the smugglers, adding that the NCS would continue to fashion out result oriented strategies and systems that would make smuggling a thing of the past in the country.
He condemned the vice of smuggling as an act that directly attacks the nation’s economy, promote joblessness and enrich other countries and smugglers who do not mean well for Nigeria.
It may be recalled that the unit’s drive in suppressing smugglers and smuggling activities had resulted in several other seizures in the earlier part of 2014. In the first quarter of the year , the command made record seizures worth N279m involving general goods .