Customs impounds N615.6m contraband, arrests 69 suspects
The Federal Operations Unit of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone ‘A’ Ikeja confiscated not less than 616 prohibited items valued at N615.6 million between January and May, this year (2016).
Briefing members of the House of Representatives Committee on Customs led by its Chairman, honourable Ahmed Rafiu Chanchangi, the Controller of the unit, Umar Mohammed Dahiru put the payable duty on the seized items at N164.8 million.
According to Dahiru, the seizures represents a ‘positive increase’ when compared with the report of the corresponding period of 2015.
The Controller also confirmed that over N297 million was recovered through the various interventions during the period, adding that the unit “continues to develop newer strategies” to fight smuggling.
Dahiru said: “It is on the basis of this that the unit has remained on top of its statutory mandate”.
A statement issued by the unit explained that members of the Committee were at the command as part of their oversight visit to Customs Command in Lagos.
Quoting Dahiru, the statement said: “It is on the basis of the foregoing that the Unit continues to review its operational methodologies to meet up with sophisticated strategic standards which the smugglers will find very difficult to decode.
“This is our power base and a source of comparative advantage. This and other strategies accounts for the remarkable achievements of the Unit during the period under review”, said the statement.
The Controller explained the achievements did not come “under the platter of gold in view of the challenges which we have continued to face in the hands of miscreants masquerading as smugglers”.
He added: “Every now and then our operatives are confronted by these street urchins with their hostilities, aimed at frustrating the efforts of our operatives.
“Smuggling, just like scavenging, is a global menace and its instructive to note that these smugglers are deadlier than armed robbers both in style and mode of operations.
“However, I am pleased to tell you that our operations have benefitted from the training and re-training policy of the Comptroller-General of Customs. This explains their tenacity of purpose and capacity/competence to withstand any threat.
“Our activities have been able to drastically decimate and degrade the activities of these smugglers particularly in the areas which were hitherto seen as ‘no go areas’.
“We not only seize from them but we also cut their supply chains and prosecute culprits so as to serve as deterrence to others.