The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operation Unit (FOU) Zone ‘B’ has seized 625 various goods with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,668 billion between January and June, 2020.
The figure is against the 425 goods seized with DPV of N762 million recorded within the same period in 2019.
Mr Mustafa Sarkin-Kebbi, the Controller of Custom in charge of the zone, stated this at a news conference today in Kaduna.
Sarkin-Kebbi disclosed that 18 suspects were apprehended for alleged smuggling of the seized 625 goods.
The Controller listed the seized items to include 157 vehicles; 6,340 bags of rice; 2,276 kegs of vegetable oil; 2,352 cartons of pasta and 162 bags of sugar.
Others were 1,324 cartons of soap; 1,713 bundles of textile materials, 14 cartons of mosquito coil, 394 cartons of pharmaceuticals, 298 cartons of tomato paste and 270 pieces of used tyres.
“1,167 bags of assorted fertiliser; 291 kegs of petrol and 484 parcels of Indian hemp all with the DPV of N1, 668 billion.
Sarkin-Kebbi noted that NCS had recorded a significant increase in the DPV of items as against the previous statistics tallied in 2019, adding that the feat was achieved in spite of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He revealed that the Service collected N2.030 billion revenues between January and March this year.
The Controller, however, said that the Anti-Smuggling Operations squad was attacked at Batsari and Jibiya communities of Katsina State.
Sarkin-Kebbi added that two of the service personnel kidnapped at Batsari were rescued in a joint operation with the military and sister security agencies.
“One officer lost his life in the line of duty as a result of a gunshot by bandits while four others sustained injuries in the course of operations.
“Banditry activities in Katsina and Zamfara States posed a serious challenge to our operations in the affected areas.
“Some of the areas affected by banditry serve as entry points for smuggling items into the country. We suspect that smugglers are collaborating with bandits to sustain their criminal activities,” he said.
According to him, the Service will intensify surveillance and intelligence gathering to identify destinations of smuggled goods and enhance border patrols.
The FOU Zone B comprised of Katsina; Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Niger, Kwara, Kaduna, Jigawa and FCT.