BY FUNMI ALUKO
The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ has intercepted three trucks conveying 6×20ft containers of logs of unprocessed timber.
The Zonal Coordinator for Zone ‘C’, Ag. ACG Olusemire Kayode while displaying the intercepted items at the zonal headquarters, Port Harcourt earlier today, added that two suspects were arrested in connection to the seizure.
Kayode who noted that the exportation of unprocessed timber contravenes schedule 6 of the Extant Common External Tariff (CET), adding that deforestation comes with negative effects such as desert encroachment and environmental degradation.
He explained that when tree felling is not checkmated, the ecosystem and its biodiversity are left to suffer, noting that the economic loss occasioned by exportation of unprocessed logs is not only unpatriotic but criminal.
The Coordinator commended the Unit Controller, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal Psc+ and his officers for their resilience, doggedness and steadfastness in tackling smuggling, even as cautioned against senseless attacks on our operatives in the cause of carrying out their legitimate duties.
Speaking on the arrest, Kayode said, “On July 16, 2021 at about 2.00pm, one of the surveillance teams of FOU Zone ‘C’, acting on credible intelligence trailed and intercepted three trucks conveying 6×20ft containers of logs of rough timber along industrial road, Port- Harcourt.
“We also arrested two suspected smugglers who were attempting to export the unprocessed logs but they have been released on administrative bail. Exportation of rough timber which contravenes schedule 6 of the extant CET comes with negative economic and environmental effects and must not be condoned”, he said.
Also speaking, the Unit Controller, Lawal said that the logs were about to be smuggled out of the country without clearance from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), giving the registration numbers of the containers to include MSCU-3470637, MSDU-1497355, MEDU-9739916, MEDU-5627573, MSDU-6248794 and MEDU-6792783.
According to Lawal, “NEPC is an agency of government which takes note of products that are meant for exportation so that the proceeds can be repatriated accordingly. Unfortunately NEPC is not aware of these logs and have not issued any Nigeria Export Proceeds form, further confirming therefore, that the logs were about to be smuggled out “, he said.