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It was mouth watering seizures last year for the Federal Operations Unit, zone A lagos, as it recorded 1,119 interceptions worth more than N10.395 billion.

They comprise of 139 trailer loads of foreign rice rice, totalling 83,170 bags of 50kg, 8,372 kg of Indian hemp, 2,942 pieces of tyres and 2,153 bales of used clothes.

Others include 3,095 cartons of frozen poultry, 15 pieces of bullet proof jackets,15 pieces of Jack knives and 68 pieces of military camouflage. 450 drums x 106 kg of carbide, 1x40ft and 2x20ft containers found to contain charcoal, as well as 132 units of foreign used vehicles made the list.

Compt Ejibunu said a total of 136 persons were arrested at various points in connection with the seized products.
‘After due diligence of uncompromising of profiling and investigation, they were charged to court and are at different stages of prosecution’ Compt Ejibunu stated.

CONVICTIONS: 16 people were convicted through the Federal High Courts for committing offences of improper importation, assault of Customs officers, being in possession of foreign parboiled rice and for being in possession of Pangolin scales meant for export.

Ejibunu’s skyscraper rice seizure

Some other smuggling related cases instituted in the courts are at various stages of prosecution and would be followed up diligently. This year 2024, we shall continue, through our legal seat, to follow all pending court cases to logical conclusions.

REVENUE: The unit was able to recover a total of N851,719,905.01 as revenue through meticulous document checking. We were able to identify shortfalls in duty payments from which demand notices were issued and accurate revenue were recovered. These are revenues that would have been lost by the federal government to the pockets of some uncompliant business men.

As a unit charged with anti-smuggling function in the South West Zone, overseeing an area with international borders, busiest airport in Nigeria, and the two largest sea ports in the country, FOU Zone A area of responsibility is indeed wide.

With the morale and logistics support from the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, we were able to prosecute the fight against smuggling diligently by making seizures, effecting arrests and collecting revenue for government in the course of discharging our functions.

The report of our seizures and arrests being given to you today attests to the relentless and uncompromising enforcement we deployed in the fight against smuggling in 2023. It is indeed a fallout of the positive energy and selflessness we displayed in the course of our work.

2024 PROJECTIONI: want to reiterate that our battle to prevent smuggling will be intensified this year as we shall not relent in making seizures, arrests and prosecution of criminals who contravene the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. If they don’t desist from their criminal ways, this year will be tougher for them because they will lose their investments and freedom when arrested.

Let me put on record that we shall lawfully arrest and prosecute any individual involved in the attack of our officers who are discharging their legitimate responsibilities. No attacker of our personnel will be spared from facing the full wrath of the law.

APPRECIATION: On behalf of the officers and men of this unit express our profound appreciation to the Comptroller-General of Customs, and members of the management team, compliant traders within our zone and you our friends from the media for all the publicity you have helped us achieve in educating Nigerians on the dangers of smuggling.Thank you for listening.

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