The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’ Nigeria Customs Service, Owerri, of Nigeria Customs Service says it has intercepted 5,200 live ammunitions (cartridges of 30GR 70mm Calibre ) and various contraband with a duty paid value (DPV) of N378.8m.
The seizures were made between November 23 and December 27, 2020 the Command noted in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, FOU, Owerri Zone, Jerry Attah.
According to the statement, the unit through its interventions recovered N7.8m from demand notices on general goods that tried to cut corners from seaports in the guise of false declaration, transfer of value, and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the Federal Government coffers.
The unit added that the total of the seizure amounted to N386.3m.
The statement quoted the Controller in charge of the Unit, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal Psc as saying that the trends in arms and ammunition smuggling in recent times were worrisome.
The ammunition that was seized along Nwezenyi Ikom Road Cross River, was said to be concealed with other goods and household items in a passenger vehicle, a Toyota Sienna with reg no: DKA 237 DW.
Yusuf said, “Only God knows what would have happened if these cartridges got to its destination unchecked, considering the fragile security of the Nation: from Armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry to insurgency.”
He added that the seized ammunitions fell under schedule 4 of the Common External Tariff, whose importation was absolutely prohibited.
Giving details of other seized items, Yusuf said they included 50kg of 1,215 bags of foreign parboiled rice with duty paid value (dpv) of 36,450,000.00 and mostly concealed in bags of beans, maize and groundnut seeds all with the aim of deceiving the officers and men of the unit, 38 Jumbo bales of used clothing with dpv of 3,040,000.00, 204 cartons of imported tomatoes and four used exotic vehicles including one new bullet proof Toyota Land cruiser 2019 model (without end-user certificate), two Toyota Hilux 2016 and 2015 respectively, one Mercedes Benz ML350 2015, and other controlled pharmaceutical products at various locations.
He said three suspects were arrested in connection to these different seizures.
Yusuf attributed the great achievement to the leadership style of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and the entire management team of the NCS for their efforts in recognizing hard work, dedication and commitment.
“Without the Management motivation and necessary logistics support, we won’t have attained this feat within this short period,” he added.
While commending the commitment, doggedness and diligence of the Officers and Men of the FOU ‘C’ for thwarting the antics of some dare devil smugglers/economic saboteurs who used different methods to deceive the Service, Comptroller Yusuf further charged his officers to be professional and diligent in performing their statutory responsibilities in the year 2021.
In his words “We believe we have what it takes to do more in this new year of 2021. Consequently, Let me use this special privilege to call on the general public and you the members of the forth estate of the realm to join the Nigeria Customs Service in the advocacy campaign against the danger of smuggling to the Nation’s Economy” he said.
He however warned all economic saboteurs or would-be smugglers who see new year as a peak period for their nefarious acts to desist from such illegal business as the unit has devised other preemptive strategies that will make them run for their monies and count their loses.