The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service, Owerri said it confiscated 16 exotic cars and other contraband with duty paid value of N501.65 million in the past three months.
The Controller of the zone, Kayode Olusemire, made the disclosure while displaying the seized goods to journalists at the Benin Office of the NCS on Thursday.
Olusemire said the seized cars included an Armoured Toyota Land Cruiser (2013 Model) with a duty paid value of N63.530 million, adding that the zone confiscated 4,338 50kg bags of foreign rice, 781 cartons of fake pharmaceutical drugs and 53 bales of used clothing.
He told journalists that seven suspects were arrested in connection with the items.
Olusemire said that contraband had a direct negative impact on Nigeria’s economy, regretting that some people had yet to key into the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture and its directives on importation of goods.
He said: “Despite efforts being made by the Federal Government, people are still bent on smuggling in goods into the country, but customs men are always ready; we are prepared to continue to fight smugglers.
“Our vegetation is green, we should have sufficient food, if the people buy into the agricultural policy of the Federal Government.”
Olusemire said that while the Customs Area Controllers Roving Information Team of the zone impounded the smuggled bags of rice, the Benin mobile patrol axis confiscated the cars.
He listed the seized cars to include a Toyota Hilux (2018 Model) worth N30.13 million and Toyota Land Cruiser Prado valued at N10.56 million.
He added: “Also impounded are three Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Toyota Camry, four Toyota Hilux, three Toyota Venza and four Matic MC 350 Mercedes Benz (2012 model).
“Included in the seizure are 4.338 bags of 50kg foreign rice in different conveyor trucks – both trucks and rice have a duty paid value of N66.97 million – and 53 bales of used clothing valued at N7.63 million.
“Some of the goods were concealed in plastic containers and other non-contraband.”
He also said the zone seized 781 cartons of Chakapacin Xtra Tablets with duty paid value of N39.50 million.
Olusemire said the foreign rice had expired and had become unhealthy for human consumption.
He added that the pharmaceutical product had no NAFDAC number.
He called on members of the public to provide useful information about smugglers, their agents and collaborators to customs for necessarily actions.
He gave the assurance that the information would be handled confidentially.
Olusemire appealed to citizens to buy cars from reliable dealers and allow customs officers to do their work as they should.