TEAM of the Nigeria Customs Service Strike Force ‘A’, covering Lagos and other South-West states have made whopping seizures of smuggled items amounting to N278, 789,299 between January 1 to date.
Coordinator of the team, Ahmadu Shuaibu while addressing journalists in Lagos also disclosed that it made a recovery of N429,123,502 from demand notices issued as a result of meticulous checks carried out on importers documents where duty payment shortfalls were discovered.
Shuaibu, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs who showed the seizures to newsmen gave a breakdown of the items including 1,930 bags of 50kg parboiled rice; 552 cartons of foreign footwear; 1,227 rolls of chiffon textile materials; 18 pallets of perfumes, cosmetics and bags; 2,064 cartons of bulbs and 1,810 cartons of alcoholic and non-alcoholic wines.
1920 bags of 50kg parboiled rice seized worth N123 million within two weeks. We have a mandate to raid warehouses and markets to advance Federal Government policy of promoting agriculture.
The Coordinator said his unit is committed to making maximum seizures with zero casualties to protect the economy and prevent revenue losses to the government.
He added that rice is being smuggled into the country in trickles which makes It difficult to see a hundred bags in one swoop operation and that time and efforts were devoted to making the seizures.
Some of the seizures made, according to Shuaibu, were due to false declarations aimed at evading accurate duty payment, outright violation by importing contraband goods that fall under the import prohibition list and other attempts at smuggling importable items with the intent to evade duty payment.
He showed a container of alcoholic and non-alcoholic wines that was declared as a washing machine. Non-alcoholic wines are contraband aimed at supporting local production while the alcoholic wines attract duty payment higher than five per cent of washing machine falsely declared
He added that bags and cosmetics in other containers were declared as a washing machine. Footwear also declared as machinery, electric bulbs, though dutiable was declared as vehicles while chiffon materials were also falsely declared as sealing machines.
While commending compliant traders for keeping to the law, he said the unit will keep working to protect our local industries by preventing the importation of prohibited items and ensuring maximum collection of government revenue.
Shuaibu also reiterated the Strike Force mandate to patrol within its area of responsibility and seize smuggled items found in warehouses and markets. A separate unit, according to him is making efforts to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the smuggling acts and would bring them to book as soon as possible.
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