The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, an anti-smuggling arm of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri, last year, recorded a total of 363 seizures of illegally imported items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,805,843,064.00.
The command also recovered an underpayment of N71,762,029.00; totaling N1,877,605,093.00) for the year 2014, as against the 199 seizures recorded in the preceding year of 2013.
The Area Controller of the Unit, Dimka Victor David who confirmed this, also highlighted that a total of 104 arrests were made, even as 134 cases remained pending in the court during the year under review, in contrast to that of only 31 arrests recorded in the year 2013 with 20 cases in court.
Providing details of the summary of seizures recorded, Dimka stated that vehicles alone topped the list of the items totaling 237, of which 209 vehicles were with fake documents while 28 were abandoned.
“The highest numbers of seizures were recorded in April, September and December, apparently due to increased desperation of the smugglers during the months; just as the highest DPV were made in the months of April and September precisely”, he indicated, thanking the Comptroller General of Customs, Dr. Dikko Inde Abdullahi for enhanced motivation and logistics, which he noted, worked immensely at making his command waged an un-spared war, against smugglers.
“We recorded a harvest of seizures in 2014. Thanks to the CGC, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde, CFR who spurred, motivated and encouraged us all, in the discharge of our anti-smuggling activities which culminated into a harvest of seizures.”
He also assured that the ongoing intensive and aggressive patrol operations would be sustained to ensure an absolute compliance to laws, in order to nip the activities of smugglers in the bud, in this.
David Dimka called on Nigerians to always avail the Unit with relevant information that could lead to tracking of smugglers while also promising that the identity of such patriotic informants would be treated with utmost confidentiality.
He however advised those still engaging in the acts of smuggling to have a rethink as the Service would show no sympathy for any unpatriotic acts; while pledging a listening ear to the needs of all genuine importers or their agents in a bid to ensure that they continue to enjoy the support and benevolence of the NCS in line with the Service mandate to facilitate legitimate trade.
It may be noted that the dynamism for anti-smuggling operations in the zone was significantly upped, after the management deployed Dimka to the zone and equipped him with an armoured patrol vehicle.