Customs Spoils Proposed Election Violence for Trouble Makers
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A says it has nipped in the bud suspected plot by undesirable elements to cause mayhem during the 2023 elections by seizing a stockpile of machetes at an abandoned building at a border community town known as Oja-Odan in Ogun State.
According to Deputy Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, the Unit Controller, the 3,116 pieces of cutlasses which were impounded and evacuated by his operatives are potential weapons of violence and attacks during elections, in view of past evidences where certain politicians and their hired thugs have deployed similar tools for such purposes.
Addressing the media yesterday in his office over the seizure, Ejibunu explained that the Customs Service will continue to take preemptive measures to stem any form of economic, social and political criminalities and others bothering on national security, noting that any claimant to the cutlasses should come to the unit with the relevant import approvals, including the End-User-Certificate issued by the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The Unit Controller gave the breakdown of notable seizures for the month of October 2022 to include the following: 7,403 bags of 50kg of foreign parboiled rice; 2. 53,759 litrs of petroleum motor spirit (PMS); 121 cartons of frozen poultry product; 724 bales of used second hand clothing; 3 units of used motorcycles; 97 pieces of used tyres and 162 (96kg) parcels of Indian hemp.
Others are 11 kegs of 25 litres of vegetable oil; 13 units of used fridges; 700 rolls of cigarettes; 23 cartons of dates; 9 units of vehicles and 2x40ft containers of charcoal, with a duty paid value (DPV) of N671, 609,384.5.
This is even as the unapologetic anti-smuggling chief announced that the cumulative revenue recovered within the period under review amounted to a total of N42,320,098.00, which he noted would have been lost to individuals, if not for the diligent and meticulous documentary checks by officers and men of the unit.
Ejibunu hinged the unit’s operations on the enabling powers of sections: 158 (power to patrol freely), sections 160 – 163 (failure to pay duty on demand, untrue declarations, counterfeiting documents, false scales, etc) of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as amended.
He added that a total of 11 Suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures and are at various stages of investigations for possible prosecution.
Maintaining that smuggling compromises national security, the NCS will continue to adopt cutting edge strategies to remain a step ahead in safe guarding the national economy, safety and security of Nigerians.
He said, “Having understood the unrepentant nature of some economic saboteurs’ increased desperation to smuggle and their quest to acquire wealth ahead of the festive period, this Unit had remained resolute in enforcing compliance with the federal government fiscal policies, Customs and Excise laws.
“While doing this, we have evolved better strategies of being ahead of them; not only to seize their wares, but to get them arrested and prosecuted.
“Let me remind you that smuggling in whatever guise or form, is an illegal activity that constitutes a crime against Customs extant laws. Primarily among other effects; smuggling compromises national security, robs the nation of her revenue, which consequently affects the provision of basic amenities and social services to the citizens, and it can also destroy your health through the importation of expired, fake, and other illicit drugs.”
He appealed to the trading community to be patriotic by making sincere declarations and by paying correct duties/levies, noting that anyone found culpable would be prosecuted in line with the extant laws.