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Apapa Customs Command rake in over N1trn in Half Year

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The Nigeria Customs Service, Apapa Area Command collected and successfully remitted a total of N1,023,663,842,255.63, in revenue between January and June 2024.

The Customs Area Controller, CAC, Comptroller Babatunde Olomu averred that the figure represents143% increase over and above the figures of Four hundred and twenty-one billion, three hundred and eighty-two million, one hundred and sixty-six thousand, three hundred and seventy-eight-naira, forty-six kobo, N421,382,166,378.46, collected in the corresponding period of 2023.

He attributed the high performance to officers resilience plus the fact that upon resumption, he set up a dedicated committee on revenue recovery, which focused mainly in blocking all channels of revenue leakages.

Comptroller Olomu noted that the Command’s revenue performance under review is also significant in view of the general economic downturn.

“Whereas this collection is coming despite a sharp reduction in the volume of trade, it is necessary to note that extra measures have been put in place to prevent losses of government revenue”, Olomu said.

In the area of anti-smuggling operation, the CAC announced the seizure of 11 containers with a Deputy Paid Value, DPV, of Four hundred and twenty-four million, one hundred and five thousand, nine hundred and seventy-five naira, N424,105,975.00.

This as against 42 seizures with a DPV of N1.4 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2023.

“Within the period under review, the command made seizures of eleven, 11, containers comprising of prohibited items such as expired and unregistered pharmaceuticals, foot wears, used clothing, armored cables, frozen poultry products etc.”

On the Command’s enforcement record, he said “it is pertinent to mention that just last week, we uncovered a large quantity of expired and unregistered pharmaceuticals in 3x40ft container numbers TCKU 6928184, MRKU 4422733, MRSU 5550243, and another 3x40ft container nos. MNBU 3934925, MEDU 9107559 and MEDU 9752980 loaded with seven thousand five hundred and eighty (7,580) cartons of frozen poultry products unfit for human consumption, which is against schedule 3 of the revised import prohibition list of the Common External Tariff, CET.

“These importations violate section 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023”, even as he explained the dangers inherent in some of the smuggled items, such as the seized unauthorized pharmaceuticals.

“Let me state that the harmful effects of fake and unregistered pharmaceutical products on citizens are unquantifiable and as a responsible service, we owe Nigerians the duty of preventing them from being exposed to this dangerous importation.

“In light of the above, I want to use this opportunity to sound a note of warning to perpetrators of smuggling, duty evasion and other forms of criminality frowned upon by the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and other extant laws, that Apapa command is poised to nip illicit importation in the bud.”

Giving further insights on the present administration’s stance against offensive distribution of pharmaceutical products, he said the Command under his watch is focusing on ensuring that cargo movements to warehouses are subjected to thorough profiling.

“Consequently, in line with the CGC zero tolerance for smuggling, I have reformed the command way of treating transpires by ensuring more meticulous management of cargoes moving from the mother port to bonded terminals.

“This has become necessary to prevent a situation where smugglers attempt to perpetuate illegalities in bonded terminals.

“To sustain this tempo, no cargo is allowed to exit from our control without thorough inspection using the scanner.”

Explaining more on the administration’s zero tolerance to sharp practices in cargo documentation and clearance integrity, Olomu said the Command will step on toes and not negotiate on its mandate

“We shall not compromise on this as we will keep making seizures, detention and arrests where necessary to protect the national economy and prevent Nigerians from exposure to dangerous or unwholesome products like illicit drugs.”

He said the Command is also leaving nothing to chance to ensure that trade facilitation achieves robust attention.

“We are applying a blend of intelligence with community relations for better awareness of our operating environment to achieve greater trade facilitation and fight criminality.

“I have a team of dedicated officers charged with the responsibility of addressing all complaints or disputes within record time before escalation to my office for prompt action. I don’t run an open-door policy because, for me, there is literally no door at all if you want to access my office.

“My office is open for everyone to discuss anything that will facilitate legitimate trade and promote government interest at all times, including receiving information on suspected smuggling.”

On partnership engagement and inter agencies collaboration, he said:

“We are in close touch with sister government agencies working like a team with shared responsibilities. I want to commend the Nigeria Police, Department of State Service (DSS), NDLEA, NAFDAC, SON, NIS, NAQS, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and others for their support so far.

“We made progress together and will continue to collaborate in the national interest.”

While thanking the CGC and his management team for logistics and operational support, the Apapa Customs boss also thanked his officers and men of the command for their resilience, and stakeholders for their support and urged all to continue to work together to achieve a better second half for 2024,” Olomu averred.

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