The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) federal operations unit, Zone A, on Wednesday said it intercepted contraband from Benin Republic worth N7.813 billion in 2021.
The acting Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Deputy Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, said this in a statement signed by Mr Theophilus Duniya, Public Relations Officer of the unit in Lagos.
Ejibunu noted in the statement that the unit equally generated revenue to the tune of N617.919 million.
According to him, the contraband consists of foreign parboiled rice, cartridges, unregistered pharmaceuticals, Indian-hemp, fairly used vehicles, used tyres, used compressors, second-hand clothing, among others,
He added that the contraband was intercepted in the South-Western states of the country.
“The year under review had a total of 116 suspects while 18 were arraigned, 69 were released on administrative bail, one was handed over to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and 23 in custody presently.
“The unit regrettably lost four officers to anti-smuggling operations in the preceding year,” he said.
Ejibunu while giving the breakdown noted that between Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021, the unit intercepted 751 pieces of cartridges, 82,171 bags (135 trailer loads) of foreign parboiled rice.
Others he said are 12,781 kegs at 25 litres each premium motor spirit, 12,394 cartons of frozen poultry products, 562 units of used vehicles, 312 sacks; 11,992 pairs of used shoes.
Others are 1,638 bales; 5,669 pieces of used clothing, 309 units of used fridges, 896 pieces of used compressors, 3,553 kegs of vegetable oil, 3,177 pieces of used tyres.
Also included are 568 cartons of Tomato paste, 733 sacks; 3,522.1kg of Indian hemp, 16 containers of unprocessed wood, 43 drums of Carbide, 3,671 cartons of unapproved drugs, 319 cartons of foreign soap, 149 units of used motorcycles and many more.
He said that the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the seizures stood at N7.813 billion.
Ejibunu said the end of 2021 witnessed the re-jigging of the Unit with operational vehicles, gun trucks and commendation letters by the Comptroller-General of Customs to galvanise officers to improve on their performance.
“Obviously, the re-jigging was the magic wand that shot up the seizure profile of the Unit between September and December 2021.
“In this New Year, the Unit has discreetly mapped out strategies to vigorously pursue revenue recoveries and ensure we meet or even surpass any target given to us,” he said.
He noted that all revenue leakages would be blocked as the Customs Intelligent Unit would spread its tentacles to furnish the Unit with credible information regarding concealments, transfer of value, wrong classification and low value.
“Regarding anti-smuggling activities, our focus will be the border areas as we are going to dissipate a lot of energies to intensify patrols and ensure unCustoms goods do not find their way into the country.
“We are not unaware of the fact that election year is just around the corner. It is a period during which illicit importation takes place and certainly, that will not happen.
“Let me at this point warn economic saboteurs and dare-devil smugglers in the Zone to stay clear or they meet their Waterloos if they don’t embrace legitimate economic activities.
“In terms of trade facilitation, the Unit is overtly ready to protect genuine traders,” he said.