BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, (FOU) Zone C Controller, DC Kayode Kolade has warned smugglers and all economic saboteurs who plan to use the ember period for their nefarious activities to have a rethink as he declared the zone risk area for smugglers; and has warned of the severest consequences for whoever wishes to try the resolve of the unit.
He said the Service will make sure such persons count their losses adding that “no amount of distraction will stop us from carrying out our statutory responsibilities not even in the face of attacks we encountered this month by some sponsored elements”.
This is even as the controller said unit recorded seizures amounting to over #1.6billion, inclusive of recovery from underpayment and total Duty Paid Value, DPV, between July 25 and September 23rd 2023.
The anti-smuggling war veteran explained that seizures made within the period includes explosive materials, unapproved armoured bullion van, unauthorized and unregistered medicaments, contraband clothing, rice, compromised vehicle tyres amongst others; even as he disclosed that a total of nine suspects have been arrested in connection with some of the questionable items.
A statement signed and made available to Vanguard newspaper by the Unit Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah quoted Kolade a deputy comptroller of customs as frowning at the spate of smuggling in the zone; but noted that the unit has been more than capable in largely frustrating the said economic crimes.
The statement reads, “Kolade, who frowned at the spate of smuggling in the Zone however said that he successfully recovered the sum of Fifty-Four Million, Two Hundred and Forty-four Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy One Naira (54,244,571.00)only from demand notices raised based on some infractions noticed, making a cumulative sum of One Billion, Six Hundred and Thirty-Four Million, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Four Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-One Naira, N1,634,794,571.00, only within the months under review.”
The anti-smuggling czar listed the seized items to include 417 sacks of cannabis sativa also known as Indian hemp weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of same Indian hemp 1kg each totaling 627kg; 9 sacks 50kg each of explosives’ raw materials; 1,329 bags, 50kg each of smuggled foreign parboiled rice; 5 cartons of DSP Cough Syrup with codeine 100mg containing 1000 bottles; 1 unit of armored Bullion Van; and 761 jumbo bales of second hand clothing.
Others include 883 cartons of various unregistered/expired medicaments including tramadol; 100 cartons of various wines; 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres; 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste; 300 cartons of foreign spaghetti.
Kolade said the items Duty Paid Value, DPV, is One Billion, Six Hundred and Forty-Eight Million, Four Hundred and Ninety-Four Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-One Naira, N1, 648,494,571.00, only.
Giving further details about the above seizures and others, Kolade said: “Based on prompt intelligence and sting operation, the rice was intercepted along Calabar/Akwa Ibom axis and okada/benin expressway, the 417 sacks and 627 parcels of Indian hemp were intercepted at Okada-Benin and Ewu-Auchi Expressway respectively; while the 761 Jumbo bales of used clothing mostly concealed in trucks and buses were intercepted along Umeikaa/Aba Road and Okada-Benin road.
“The 5 cartons of DSP cough syrup with codeine and 883 cartons of unregistered medicaments were intercepted along Benin/Asaba/Onitsha Expressway.”
Kolade also explained that the armored Bullion Van intercepted along Okada/Benin Expressway was without customs documents and End User Certificate.
The seizures he said include “100 cartons of wine and 335 tomatoes paste intercepted along Ewu/Ibilo axis; and 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres intercepted along Cross River waterside and Okada-Benin Expressway.”
He further expressed worry over the smuggling of explosives in the face of gripping national insecurity and called on smugglers to desist forthwith.
“More worrisome is the interception of 9 sacks 50kg each of explosive materials, fertilizer, device cables and superpower90 chemicals. We all know the security implication if these explosives components get to their destination unchecked.
“It may interest you to know that Superpower 90 is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting. The high detonation velocity and the robust nature of Superpower 90 make it an ideal primer for the initiation of column charge. Lets us not just imagine if dynamites and landmines are detonated using these items”, he said.
Kolade who used the opportunity to congratulate the Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi MFR on his appointment described the CGC as worthy of his office.
“His appointment is well deserved considering his pedigree, dedication and commitment to the service. We will all make sure he succeeds as his leadership style has started yielding positive results in our operations.”
The time tested and trusted economic war lord warned all economic saboteurs who plan to use the ember period for their nefarious acts to have a rethink and engage in legitimate businesses, with a pledge to continue to run them out of business.
“No amount of distraction will stop us from carrying out our statutory responsibilities not even in the face of attacks we encountered this month by some sponsored elements.”