The Nigeria Customs Service's Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, said that during the first quarter of 2024, it recovered N305,310,010.44 for the government's coffers and made 206 seizures valued at N2,877,049,777.

This was revealed today in Lagos by Comptroller Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu, who stated that the recovered revenue equates to 67% of the N455,202,073.97 revenue projection for 2024.

Ejibunu stated that among the confiscations were 12,278 (50 kg) bags of imported parboiled rice, which is the same as 21 trailer loads; 40 used automobile units; 286 rubber slipper cartons; 1220 cartons of imported tomato paste; and 2705 kegs of Premium motor spirit.

Others were 3510 pieces of pneumatic used tyres, 330 bales of used clothes and 2230 kilograms of Indian hemp,1569 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products, 365 cartons of unmarked drugs, 104 units of haojuo motor cycles and 566 cartons of slippers.
The Controller noted that citizens should avoid smuggling because “it is a criminal offence against the state; participating in it has legal consequences such as hefty fines, imprisonment, or other legal sanctions.

“For example, Section 228 (false statements/declaration), section 231(counterfeiting any seal, signature, initials or any mark used by any officer), section 229 (an intentional entry of goods for less duty payment) etc. Therefore, citizens must avoid smuggling because it does not only pose legal and safety risks, but also undermines the well-being of society as a whole.

“Smuggling impacts society negatively by short-changing the economy through tax evasion, affects public health and safety, distorts the balance of fair business competitiveness, and also serves as an instrument for the achievement of other criminal activities.

“Smuggling can lead to compromised personal safety because it exposes individuals to various risks that include; dealing with dangerous individuals, illegal substances, and working in unsafe conditions.”

Speaking on the benefits of compliance, Comptroller Ejibunu said “By complying with all relevant regulations and laws, importers and traders can steer clear of costly fines and penalties that may arise as a consequence of non-compliance. It enhances a good reputation, demonstrates reliability, and trustworthiness, ensures smooth Customs and other statutory regulatory clearance procedures.

“This in turn reduces delays and potential disruptions in the supply chain. Interestingly, compliant importers are eligible to access the Service’s preferential treatment through preferential trade programs such as the fast track, the advance ruling, and the Authorize Economic Operators (AEO) programme.”

“It is a programme that allows all compliant economic operators involved in the international movement of goods to apply for AEO status. While the focus is maintained on high-risk operators and the facilitation of legitimate trade.”

He attributed the seizure to violation of various sections of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. “Seizures recorded in the 1st quarter of 2024 were due to violations of various sections of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, the federal government import and export prohibition guidelines. while vigorously and relentlessly executing our anti-smuggling campaign, a total of 206 seizures were made worth the sum of duty paid value of N2,877,049,777 while 29 suspects were arrested.Some of the seizures recorded within the first three months of the year 2024 are 12,278 X 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 21 trailer loads)40 units of used vehicles286 cartons of rubber slippers, 1,220 cartons of foreign tomato paste, 2,705 kegs of premium motor spirit, 3,510 pieces of pneumatic used tyres, 330 bales of used clothes,  2,230 kg of Indian Hemp, 1,569 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products,  365 cartons of unmarked drugs, 104 units of Haojuo Motorcycle, 566 cartons of slippers.

“Just recently, officers of this Unit were carrying out their legitimate duties when they were being shot by some armed men suspected to be smugglers along Igbori Village, in Oyo State. Although some of the officers in the patrol team sustained injuries, but the assailants were repelled with superior fire power.

“Armed none state actors should beware of the legal consequences of their actions when caught. We shall never be distracted or deterred by their antics; the rules of engagement would be fully invoked in compliance with the Service’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to counter any attack on officers.I hereby invite you to see some of these seizures under our custody.”


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