The Federal Operations Unit, Zone “A: of the Nigeria Customs Service said it intercepted contraband valued at N132.5 million in April 2013.
Uche Ejesieme, the Public Relations Officer of the command, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the command also intercepted contrabands valued at N122.2 million in the corresponding period of 2012.
Ejesieme said: “This will also complement the efforts of the entire customs commands in the South West, particularly in ensuring the enforcement of the fiscal policies of the Federal Government.
“The Comptroller, Federal Operations, Mr. Inuwa Muhammad Abubakar, who assumed duty recently, just came and hit the ground running.
“This could be seen from some of the spectacular seizures, which he has made since assumption of office because of the strategies and the new approach we have taken in combating smuggling.
“In April 2013, the unit recorded a total of 269 seizures of various contraband goods.
“These seizures are valued at N115,188,130, the Duty is N17,109, 602 million while the Duty Paid Value is N132,597,732 million and we had a total of 40 suspects.
“In 2012, we had a total of 200 seizures and the value of the seizures stood at N97,542,745 million, the Duty stood at N24,707,939 million while the Duty Paid Value is N122,250,684 and we had a total of 27 suspects.
“So if you look at these two periods, you will discover quite clearly that there is serious improvement in our anti-smuggling activities when compared with the result of last year.”
Ejesieme said that some of the 40 suspects were still being investigated while some of them had been charged to court.
Ejesieme said that the newly-introduced Customs Community Relationship method had assisted the command to sensitise some community against the dangers in anti-smuggling activities.
He said: “The Comptroller, Federal Operations Zone “A” introduced what we called Customs Community Relationship.
“This is a method whereby the Nigeria Customs, particularly the FOU “A” sensitises and educate the trading public on the dangers of smuggling.
“It also provides a forum for interface between the Federal Operations Unit and the host communities where we operate.
“We will not hesitate to eulogise our able Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji (Dr) Abdullahi Dikko Inde, CFR, and his management team for the wonderful support that they have given not only to the Federal Operations but the Customs Service at large.
“We are saying that we are not going to let them down.
“We will continue to reciprocate this gesture and ensure that we bring this issue of smuggling to the barest minimum.”
Ejesieme advised smugglers to desist from smuggling, adding that the act was injurious to the economy.
He said that if the smugglers refused to stop smuggling, the command would continue to seize the smuggled goods.