We’re Battle-Ready for Smugglers @ Xmas, As Ejibunu Announces 13 Trailer-loads of Rice Seizure
Smugglers in the Western region of the country have been handed a stern warning that they will be run out of business as the yuletide fast approaches if they dare the officers and men of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) A, Ikeja.
Its helmsman, Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu said the unit is now on red alert to harvest prohibited goods from stubborn smugglers, even as he announced the seizure of more than N1.2 billion worth of goods in the month of October alone. He stated that the Unit was sustaining its resolve to protect the Nigeria’s economy by enforcing all the anti-smuggling laws without exception and in an uncompromising manner.
According to him, intelligence reports gathered over the years indicated a higher degree of desperation by economic saboteurs to smuggle during the Christmas and New Year periods. “While noting this challenge, we have fully deployed the improved logistics supplied by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR; provided support for our officers with strategic manpower placements to achieve our on-going drive to suppress smuggling”, he deposed.
Noting that their reviewed strategies have been paying off as reflected in the seizures recently made, he vowed that they would sustain their efforts towards deploying these strategies continuously. “I want to state that this Unit of the Service under my watch will make the remaining part of 2023 and beyond tough for smugglers in the interest of our country. We are ready to intercept them and frustrate their antics of concealment, illegal route passage, false declaration and under declaration”.
Ejibunu disclosed that in addition, they are determined to implement all the provisions of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 including the various penalties attached to offences while striving to ensure that perpetrators face the full wrath of the laws. Reeling out the seizure profile of the Unit for the month of October, he said the Unit was able to seize almost 13 trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice (7,381 bags of 50kg) from smugglers. A total of 17 vehicles were also seized from smugglers who wanted to circumvent the law by evading duty payment. Nine suspects were arrested.
He said for the umpteenth time that the ban on vehicle importation through the land border still subsists. “Our officers also intercepted 593 jerry cans (14,825 litres) of Premium Motor Spirit, noting that due to its volatility, “we have safely disposed of them in line with laid down due process”. Other seizures include 675 pieces of used tyres, 167 (20kg) parcels of Indian Hemp, 39 bales of second hand clothing, 100 packs of tomato ketchup, 4 units of used motorcycle, 600 canons of GIV soap as well as 730 sacks of hide and skin hidden in a 1×40 container equivalent to 5,033 pieces.
In the Unit’s continuous quest to prevent revenue loss through various infractions such as under valuation, under-payments and wrong classification, he said the sum of N115,456,534.94 was collected following the issuance of Demand Notices to defaulters.
Ejibunu also showcased Assistant Comptroller Egunjobi who intercepted the hides and skin as well as Superintendent Akabusi who ensured the seizure of two trailer loads of rice along Ijebu-Ode road. The duo said their feat was intelligence-driven.
Ejibunu had also noted that the global conference with theme “It takes a Network to fight a Network” recently held in India which he, Abba-Kura and Kayode Kolade participated was aimed at collaboration. According to him, anti-smuggling operation can work better if countries co-operate to fight it, adding that Nigeria received a lot of commendation at the Conference following her feats on the war against smuggling of goods, light weapons, drugs, etcetera. Attended by more than 30 countries, he noted that Nigeria was the only black nation that featured at the Conference.
Ejibunu appealed to well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians to continue to support the Unit with credible information that will assist in battling economic sabotage, while urging members of the Press to use their position to discourage smuggling and any act that contravenes Customs Laws.