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Ali, Customs boss

Customs FOU seizes N1.1B contraband, makes 18 arrests

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The Federal Operations Unit, (FOU) Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has succeeded in the seizure of 29 prohibited items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,074,099,739.00 and under payment recovered of over N54 million.

Impounded items 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 include 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 items according to a statement were seized in the in the South East and South-south geopolitical zones of the country.

Customs Area Controller in-Charge 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 of the NCS in Edo State.

He said that 18 suspects who were arrested in connection with the shady deal are now undergoing interrogation for possible prosecution.

Beyond the above statistics, Mohammed said that the seizures represented protection of the nation’s economy and security of the citizenry.

“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

According to Mohammed, 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 unauthorized imported seized items”.

He regretted 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.

The Customs boss however made it clear that his men were not out to frustrate individuals who are into genuine business but are only interested to facilitate legitimate trade, stressing that those in illegitimate business have nothing to fear as the Nigeria Customs Service is poised to detect, arrest and prosecute only those who fail to comply with the relevant positions of the law.


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