Suspicious Truckload of motorcycles Among N854.1 million Goods intercepted by Ejibunu
In view of the insecurity in the country, a truckload of motorcycles numbering 104 units were among goods intercepted by the Federal Operations, zone A lagos, the helmsman of the Unit, Compt Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu disclosed to newsmen today.
He said the Haojuo brand of motorcycles which came in through an illegal route around the border were suspected to be smuggled into the country for banditry and use by most kidnappers and terrorists in the country.
6.5 trailer loads of imported rice (3,653 bags 50 kg) were seized. Others include 1,490kg of indian hemp, 1,220 cartons of foreign tomato paste, 23,025 litres of premium motor spirit, 241 bales of used clothes, 556 cartons of slippers, 11 units of used cars as well as a truckload of used tyres.
The Controller said that smuggling is a crime that has to do with; the act of false declaration and concealment of goods, the use of unapproved routes and ports for the exportation or importation of goods, forging of Customs documents, willful under-payment of Customs duties, and trafficking in prohibited or restricted goods among others.
The impact of smuggling has very serious repercussions on the economy, the environment, health and security. Thus, to restrain this trend of illegal commercial activities, there is the need for collaboration and strong partnership with other critical stakeholders through sharing of information and intelligence.
In a continuous and renewed vigour to fight smuggling, we activated an enhanced intelligence gathering and information sharing mechanism, and were able to identify some new smuggling hot spots and schemes employed by smugglers. This strategy yielded 60 seizures worth a total duty paid value of N854,156,712.
The following major seizures were recorded within January 2024.3,653 X 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent to 6.5 trailer loads), 23,025 litres of PMS, 241 bales of used clothes, 1,490 kg of Indian Hemp, 1,220 cartons of foreign tomato paste, 983 pieces of used tyres, 104 units of Haojuo motorcycles, 556 cartons of slippers, 11 units of used vehicles.
The status of these goods was found to have contravened different sections of the Customs Act (2023), while some were expired at the time of importation; others flaunted the import statutory guidelines. A total of ten suspects were arrested in connection with some of the goods.
According to him on revenue recovery, the sum of N83,141,803.60 was generated through documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on consignments that were found to have been short-paid.
The Controller stressed, the general public is encouraged to be aware of the consequences of smuggling and its harmful effects; because it is this awareness that would help to reduce the demand for smuggled goods and discourage individuals from participating in smuggling activities.
He said, having established the fact that smuggling is a crime which affects the general wellbeing of the nation; it becomes compelling for all patriotic citizens to join the enforcement and regulatory agencies to curb the menace of smuggling.
Let me use this medium to thank the officers and men of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A, for their hard work and dedication to duty, and other security agencies for their coordinated efforts, support and cooperation towards some of the successes recorded by this Unit in the preceding year, 2023. In a like manner, I also appreciate the patriotism of compliant importers, exporters and agents for their compliance with the Service’s extant procedures and regulations; I urge you to keep it up.
On whether he can now bark and bite with regard to some of the abnormal cargo releases from the seaports which sometimes contain prohibited item, Ejibunu said he has never compromised even as a Deputy Comptroller and then acting controller of the Unit.
‘I did my job in line with extant rules and regulations. Any infractions by any officer (s) have always been duly handled by the Headquarters’, he stressed.
He stated that Promotion is just a privilege and not a right and that now that he is a full Comptroller, he would perform his duties as he has always done without fear or favour.