The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted cars, rice and Indian hemp with a Duty Paid Value of N531.47 million.
The Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Mohammad Garba, disclosed this in Lagos on Monday.
On August 8, the command intercepted various items, including vehicles and Indian hemp, with a Duty Paid Value of N1.61 billion.
Garba said the command intercepted 27 vehicles, including a Toyota Prado Jeep, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Highlander, Mercedes Benz, among others, with a Duty Paid Value of N228.21 million.
He said: “Our reinvigorated anti-smuggling operations yielded positive gains through the interception of other contraband comprising foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, Indian hemp, medicaments, used tyres and various general merchandise.
“Three containers were also seized for false declaration, with a Duty Paid Value of N303.20 million.
“Sixteen suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures.
“In the same vein, the unit, through our interventions, recovered N253.17 million from duty payment and Demand Notice on general goods that tried to outsmart our officers at seaports, airport and border stations through wrong classification.
“Also, there were wrong transfer of value and short change in duty payments that are meant for the Federal Government of Nigeria, making a cumulative sum of N783.64 million between August 9 and August 25.”
The controller said the Federal Government’s policy banning the importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders was still in force.
He said the service remained tenacious in its determination to enforce these policies.
Garba urged smugglers within the South West Zone to desist from such illegal trade as Customs officers were well equipped with necessary arsenal to cripple them and send them out of their illegitimate business.
He admonished compliant traders not to exercise any fear while embarking on their legitimate business but to be honest in their declarations.
The controller said that the unit would continue to work toward ensuring compliance with all extant laws governing imports and exports in Nigeria.
He, however, commended the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Colonel Hameed Ali, and the entire management of the NCS for providing the necessary incentives and logistics for officers that achieved the feat.
The command handed over the Indian hemp and medicaments to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control for thorough investigations.