The Nigeria Customs Service has continued to make huge success in the last three months in all the major mandates of anti smuggling operations, revenue generation and trade facilitation.
The Comptroller-General Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR is walking the talk in all ramifications.
In Abeokuta, PTML and the flagship Federal Operations Unit, zone A Ikeja today, the customs boss was again in his elements as he showcased major seizures running into billions if naira.
At the Federal Operations Unit, the CG conducted journalists to see for themselves seizures worth more than one billion, seven hundred and fifty five million, eighty thousand, eight hundred and ninety- eight.
They include 12 trailer loads of rice (7,029 50kg foreign parboiled rice, 35,100 liters of premium motor spirit, 1,100 liters of diesel, 1- 40 foot container carrying 360 bales of used clothes and 1–40 foot container containing 150 cartons of ladies’ handbags, 50 bales of nickers and other falsely declared items.
Others include 20-foot container of unprocessed wood, 106 cartons of foreign frozen poultry, 55 pieces of used fridges, 110 pieces of used compressors, 148 cartons of foreign soap, 121 cartons of expired hair oil and 25 units of tokunbo vehicles.
Adeniyi stated that investigations on some of these seizures are ongoing, while 14 suspects have been apprehendedin connection with various offences, including violating import/export guidelines, concealment, undervaluation, wrong classification, smuggling and contravening policy directives.
He said the unit generated more than N72.8 million revenue through meticulous documentary checks and the issuance of Demand Notices on consignments that were found to have paid lesser amounts than the appropriate customs duty.
He urged importers and licensed agents to make sincere declarations, adhere to existing import and export guidelines and avoid the risk of losing their investments.
‘Compliance is not only a legal obligation but also a strategic choice that ensures the smooth and efficient flow of goods across our borders’,he deposed
On issue of patronising local goods, he said agriculture being the cornerstone of Nigeria’s economy, underscores the federal government’s commitment to achieving self-sustaining growth and enhancing the quality of life for all Nigerians.
He said the objectives of its anti smuggling operations was two-fold; to discourage potential traders from engaging in smuggling activities and to inflict financial losses on active smugglers He commended the Ejibunu-led FOU for living up to expectations on the customs anti-smuggling mandate.
The Comptroller-General was with the ACG’a Alajogun, Jibo as well as DCG Abba-kura at the all important briefings today
Today, we stand before you to announce a remarkable seizure at the Port and Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML), a seizure that marks a historic milestone in the history of the command. We have successfully intercepted and detained a staggering 20 containers filled with expired tomato concentrate, an unprecedented event since the inception of this command.
Before I delve into the details, let me emphasize that operations of this nature align perfectly with the goals I have set for the Nigeria Customs Service under my leadership. Our primary objectives are to curb smuggling, safeguard national revenue, ensure the security of our nation, and promote legitimate trade and businesses.
On the 8th of August, 2023, during a routine examination, our vigilant officers at PTML uncovered a cache of expired tomato concentrate, deemed unsafe for human consumption. The audacity of the smugglers to attempt introducing this hazardous product into the Nigerian market is both shocking and disheartening.
These expired tomato concentrates were concealed within 20 containers, each falsely declared as containing almond shells, all under the auspices of a company identified as Nikecristy Investment Limited. In each container, 80 drums were meticulously arranged, amounting to a total of 1,600 drums. The duty paid value of this illegal cargo is a staggering sum of one hundred and sixteen million, two hundred and eleven thousand, seven hundred and twenty-five naira, seventy-three kobo (#116,211,725.73).
The container numbers involved in this illicit operation are as follows: ACLU 2790243, GCNU 1275582, GCNU 1303278, GCNU 1336137, GCNU 1361905, GCNU 1316824, GCNU 1323314, GCNU 1324727, GCNU 1326210, SEGU 3388813, ACLU 2800629, GCLU 13218553, GCNU 1340991, GCNU 1353290, GCNU 1340991, GCNU 1353290, GCNU 1302570, GCNU 1308140, SEGU 3333426, and SEGU 3338351. As of now, all these containers remain in our custody, officially recorded as seizures. We have apprehended one suspect, Mr. Okonkwo Oliver Izunna, who is currently under administrative bail but remains under investigation.
This seizure, which was processed through three separate single good declarations (SGDs) forms, is a testament to our unwavering commitment to maximally suppress smuggling and our determination to safeguard the lives of Nigerian citizens by intercepting dangerous imports such as these.
The actions taken by those involved in this unlawful activity contravene the provisions of sections 228(1) and (2), 55 (c and d), and 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. Additionally, it directly violates Schedule 4, item 14 of the Common External Tariff (CET) 2022-2026.
I would like to take this opportunity to send a stern warning to importers and their agents, urging them to steer clear of unlawful practices such as false declarations aimed at evading duties or smuggling prohibited goods into our country.
The audacious attempt to introduce such a large quantity of expired food products into the Nigerian market is heartless and inexcusable. I want to assure you that our officers and personnel will always remain vigilant, diligently scrutinizing all import and export consignments passing through our seaports, airports, border stations, dry ports, and terminals nationwide.
It is essential to reiterate that compliant automobile importers and their agents can now expect streamlined clearance processes, with consignments being cleared within three hours when importations adhere to our regulations, involve honest declarations, and prompt payment of customs duties.
In closing, I implore all importers and their agents to act patriotically by making honest declarations. Remember that compliance brings numerous benefits, including building a reputation for integrity, saving time and money by avoiding demand notices and penalties, and staying out of legal troubles that could lead to imprisonment, loss of licenses, and blacklisting.
Thank you for your attention, and I appreciate your continued support in our efforts to uphold the rule of law and protect the interests of our nation