By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C, Owerri has recorded a total of two hundred and thirty-one (231) seizures of contraband goods with an overall Duty Paid Value (DPV) of one billion, nine hundred and fifty-seven million, five hundred and twenty nine thousand, three hundred and seventy-five naira (N 1,957,529,375.00) in the third quarter of the year 2016.
According to a statement signed by the zone’ s Public Relations Officer, Ifeoma Onuigbo, this is in contrast to the three hundred and seventy-nine (379) seizures with a DPV of two billion, two hundred and twenty-four million, two hundred and forty-five thousand, seven hundred and ninety-seven Naira (N2,224,245,797.00) impounded in the year 2015.
The Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Haruna Mamudu, while briefing newsmen on the performance of officers and men of the unit in the third quarter of the year, said that the underpayment of five hundred and forty-eight million, seven hundred thousand, nine hundred and ninety-seven naira (N548,700,997.00) recovered this year (2016) amounted to an increase in the percentage of revenue generated by the NCS in contrast to that of one hundred and five million, two hundred and seven thousand, eight hundred and seven naira (N105,207,807.00) underpayment recovered in the year 2015.
According to Comptroller Haruna, twenty-two (22) suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures which were impounded on the Benin axis, Asaba-Agbor-Onitsha express way, Calabar, Enugu, Owerri and Port-Harcourt axis of the South-south and South -East zones of the federation, while sixteen (16) cases are pending in court. He stressed that the feat was successfully accomplished as a result of the renewed determination of the Comptroller-General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.) to rid the country of all forms of illegal importation.
The Customs Area Controller enumerated the items impounded to include 121 vehicles; 3,082 bags of 50kg rice; 1,454 cartons /set of furniture; 5,120 pieces of used foreign tyres; 625 cartons of fake medicaments and 2,600 pieces of imported school bags.
Also seized were 63 containers of log of wood; 97 pieces of 14 -stroke engine generator; 30,181 cartons imported frozen poultry products; 1,148 bales of second hand clothing as well as 2, 331 cartons of foreign detergents and creams.
The rest of the items were 1,339 pairs of foot wears; 142 pieces of used refrigerators and compressors, 155 cartons of plastic and articles of plastics; 129 cartons of ceramics and articles of ceramics in addition to 803 bags of scrap metals.
Comptroller Haruna, who expressed concern at the continued indulgence of some Nigerians in the nefarious act of smuggling despite official stiff penalty for culprits arrested said that the NCS would remain resolute and undeterred in its efforts to stamp out the scourge in the country, stressing that the NCS is always well equipped, mobilized and motivated to dislodge smugglers, their collaborators and agents where ever they hibernate.
The Controller, therefore warned all die hard smugglers who are still trapped in the illegal business to purge themselves of this before the long arm of the law catches up with them.
He also renewed appeal to members of the public with useful information about smugglers to always make such information available to his men or to other sister security agencies for necessary action, assuring that the identity of such informers will never be disclosed.
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON