Customs Lagos Strike Force Intercepts Goods Worth N8.5b
…Says No Smuggler Will Go Home Smiling
BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
The Customs Headquarters Strike Force Team, Zone ‘A’ says it intercepted contraband goods worth N8.5billion between October and November 2022, noting that its operatives are on top of their games to ensure that smuggler s are not allowed to go home smiling, leaving government bruised, economically.
In the light of the above, the Team said it arrested a 70 year old man in addition to his son, in connection to with the seizure of 376.4kg of pangolin scales at the Epe market, Lagos State, based on intelligence.
Coordinator of the Strike Force Team, Deputy Comptroller Muhammed Yusuf, who disclosed this while showcasing seizures made by it to newsmen in Lagos yesterday, added that the sum of N5billion was also recovered from underpayments since it began its clampdown on smugglers and duty evaders in the import clearance process in 2022.
According to Yusuf, the recovery was made through issuance of demand notice to fraudulent importers. He assured that the team’s operatives are ever ready through constant review of offensive to remain a step ahead of smugglers and other economic saboteurs.
He listed the items seized to include 1010 bags of 50kg of foreign parboiled rice, 376.4kg of pangolin scales, 100 cartons of red wine, 40 kg of Indian Hemp, 58 bales of used clothing and 35 unit/25 litres of jerry cans containing PMS, with a Duty Paid Value of over N1billion.
He said, “It would interest you to know that since our resumption till date, we have cumulatively generated ₦5,254,784,650. We have also made a good numbers of seizures with a total DPV of eight billion five hundred million, nine and three thousand six seventy-three naira ₦8,500,903,673.00.”
Yusuf said two suspects arrested in connection with some the seizures during the period under review have been released on administrative bail; and vowed that its operatives are committed and resolute to ensure that smugglers are given a run for their money..
“In our quest to safeguard our country from the selfish activities of economic saboteurs, collect revenue for the federal government, and to provide security, we have remained resolute and undeterred at enforcing government’s policies and Customs extant laws.
“In tandem with the support provided by the management of the Service under the leadership of Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali CFR (Rtd), our strategies are reviewed to defeat smugglers game of concealment, false declaration, under-payment etc during the yuletide period.
“Seizures displayed are a reflection of officers’ commitment to duty, and none compromise posture in the discharge of our statutory responsibilities aimed at protecting the national economy and preventing the importation of prohibited, and harmful goods,” he said.
Speaking on its anti-smuggling activities against endangered species and protected wildlife, the team coordinator reiterated that the ban imposed on international trade on pangolins, elephants and their parts in the 2016 convention held in Flora South Africa is still in force, and receiving all required attention from the team and its officers.
“Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) some species of animals are conserved from going into extinction, hence, pangolin among other animals have been subject to exploitation which has continued till date but little are known about their natural history, status that must be conserved. Campaigns and sensitization on the poaching of pangolins must be intensified since it plays a dominant role on the ecosystem thereby protecting the forest from termites and other insect destruction.”
While warning smugglers to retrace their steps and turn a new leave, Yusuf said: “As we intensify our efforts to continually seize smuggled items, and arrest suspected perpetrators, it is our hope that these seizures, revenue recoveries, and arrests would serve as deterrent to would be smugglers and duty evaders.”