Uba recovers N2.7billion March–May 15th Intercepts 6 containers, 94 posh autos, 9 trailers
King of the jungle, hard boiled anti-smuggling and revenue sheriff, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba has recovered the whooping sum of Two Billion, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Million, Three Hundred and Seventy One Thousand, Thirteen Naira as customs duty into the federal government coffers, from various import infractions April to 15th May, 2018.
This was achieved through the re-enactment of his uncanny quirk in smelling crimes from long distances, following which dishonest and wrong classification of goods, transfer of value and underpayments for goods already released at various points of customs entry were cornered by his operatives of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ Lagos. The seized items made from various locations were subjected to fresh valuation process, leading to the discovery of a cumulative discrepancy amounting to the above sum, in addition to seized various contraband items with a Duty Paid Value of One Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty One Million, Six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twenty Three Naira, Eight Kobo (N1, 461, 006, 823. 8); which brings the cumulative recovery to a total of One Billion, Six Hundred and Twenty Seven Million, Two Hundred and Fourteen Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Nine Naira (N1, 627, 214, 559.00).
Mohammed who gave the breakdown at a recent press briefing During a recent press briefing at head office, said the seized items includes, 4 containers of questionable declarations, 570 parcels and 98 sacks of Indian Hemps (Cannabis Sativa), 64 exotic vehicles, 6003 bags of rice, 963 cartons of imported frozen poultry products, 431 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 163 bales of fairly used clothing, 569 pieces of fairly used tyres and 69 Bags of sugar.
Explaining, Mohammed said the Indian hemp marks the largest single quantity of seizure of the substance by the FOU Zone ‘A’ Lagos, even as he reported fierce resistance by smugglers and their accomplices, and mob attack on his officers and men at some instances. He said himself, his officers and men are undaunted in the face of hate and attacks in carrying out its assigned duty, assuring that the service remains highly disciplined and would always avoid situations where innocent citizens are subjected to cross fire, even as he enjoined citizens to volunteer information on dubious importers and smugglers whose stock in trade is to undermine the growth of local economy and our industries. Mohammed took time to explain the nature of infractions of some of the seizures, warning that the FOU Zone A under his watch and in accordance with the laws of the Federal Government of Nigeria will continue to block all identified customs trade leakages, without apologies, and without let and hindrances.
His words: “There was a mob attack against our operatives but that never deterred us from performing our statutory responsibilities. Thank God there was no casualty. Our officers and men have been trained to ensure that innocent citizen’s protection is paramount, and we try as much as possible to avoid confrontations, just to ensure that citizens are not caught unawares. Sadly, some misguided people collaborate with smugglers to make our job difficult. It is citizens’ duty to give us credible information on dubious cargo movements, because ultimately, activities of these smugglers affect not just customs officers or government officials but our collective local production, our economy and wellbeing as a country.
“Worthy of note is the evacuation of 2,671, bags of 50kg rice using 9 hired trucks from 9 makeshift storage houses in Illogbo, Abeokuta based on credible intelligence, despite resistance. The operation was led by the Lagos Roving Team, complemented by other teams.
“Amazingly, among the seizures was the interception of 570 parcels and 98 sacks of Indian hemp weighing 1,150kg, along Olorunda axis of Ogun State based on intelligence, making it the highest seizure of such hard drug in the history of FOU Zone ‘A’. We have 13 vehicles currently under our detention. They include 1 Toyota Land Cruiser (2018), 1 Escalades Cardiac (2017), 1 Range Rover (2014), 3 Toyota Camry (2009, 2010 and 2017 models), 1 Toyota Rava 4, 1 Toyota Highlander (2014), 1 Toyota CRV, 1 Honda Accord, 1 BMW salon, 1 Toyota Siena, 1 Hyundai, among others. They are under our custody pending the grace period allowed for owners to bring relevant customs documents.
“Additionally 4 containers, 3x40ft and 1x2ft were seized for different customs breaches in the importation process. The 1x20ft container with Registration No. CSNU 106087/4 carried 2,260 cartons of Econca spaghetti made in Turkey and 530 packages of Riffle drinks made in Europe as against baking powder declared in the SGD. Further investigation revealed that the container was never exited, we are still investigating and all those found culpable will face the full wrath of the law.
“While 1x40ft container with Registration No. PCIU 865957/1 was seized for carrying 200 cartons of ladies shoes, 134 cartons of children clothing among other items as against keyboard and mouse declared in the SGD. 1x40ft container with Registration No. FCIU 80992/0 was seized for carrying 2,300 cartons of tiffany chocolate, 385 cartons of tiffany crunch and cream biscuits as against ‘Tapet for fuel pump’ declaration, liable to seizure and forfeiture.
Between April 10th and May 15th 2018, the Unit intercepted various contrabands and other trade goods currently in detention, with a DPV of One Billion, Ten Million, Two Hundred and Ninety Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Two kobo (N1,010,295,666.2). In the same vein, the Unit through its interventions recovered Twenty Eight Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight Naira (N28,860,788.00) from under payments, making a total of One Billion, Thirty Nine Million, One Hundred and Fifty Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty Four Naira (N1,039,156,454,00) only within the weeks under review.
Top on the list of seizures are two containers with registration number: MSKU130295/2 and MRKU877714/0, said to have been seized on grounds of false declarations. Both containers have a DPV of over N25million each. Giving the breakdown, Mohammed listed the seized items to include: 30 Exotic vehicles made up of 7 Toyota Hilux (2018 models), 3 Toyota Prado jeeps (2017 model), 1 Range Rover, 1Ford Edge (2015) and 5,516 bags of foreign parboiled rice (9 trailers). The others are 1,078 cartons of frozen poultry products, 216 Jerry cans of vegetable oil, 173 bales of used clothing, 683 pieces of used tyres, 8 sacks of Indian hemp estimated to weigh 134kg among others.
In summary, the Unit Controller put the total number of seizures at 211, which also fetched the arrest of 24 suspects, who are currently undergoing investigations, with a view to prosecuting anyone of them that is indicted. Meanwhile, the FOU Zone A helmsman informed that after court processes and condemnation of seized items, the Presidential Committee on IDPs chaired by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) approved the evacuation of the following items to the Borno State Government for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through the Nigerian Army Corps of Supply and Transport (NASCT): 25,318 bags of Rice-50kg (42 Trailers), 1,564 bales and 122 sacks of second hand clothing, and 196 sacks and 938 pairs of used shoes.