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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, Owerri confiscated seventeen (17) prohibited items and 21 underpayments recovered with a total sum of N194,656,855.00 in the month of January.
The Public Relations officer of the unit, Assistant Superintendent of Customs Onuigbo, Ifeoma Ojekwu said the figure is a combination of an overall Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N122,282,220.00 and a recovered underpayment of N72,374,635.00.
Besides, the Customs Area Controller in charge of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed, Mr. Uba Garba showcased the seized items at the premises of the Customs Warehouse, Enugu and noted that 18 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures which took place along Owerri, Benin, Enugu and Calabar axis.
In the breakdown of the seizures, Uba said that while nine vehicles worth N35,900,920.00 were involved, 382 pieces of foreign smuggled used tyres valued at N6,288,000.00 and 3,077 bags of 50kg foreign rice estimated at N80,093,300.00 were equally confiscated by his officers and men.
Uba hinted that rice smuggling has the capacity to depress the nation’s economy because according to him, it reduces government’s revenue, stifles domestic rice industries in addition to distorting supply and consumption data usually applied by the government as references for sound policy planning.
While justifying government’s ban on used tyres, he stressed that such items from the more advance nations of the world are compressed and discarded for use in their countries of manufacture, but later find their way into the country as a result of the activities of the smugglers who in turn sell them to members of the public because of their perceived cheap prices.
He warned those who are still trapped in the illicit business of smuggling despite the obvious implications to purge themselves of these obnoxious businesses which is detrimental to the nation’s economy, their own lives and the society at large.