By UDEME CLEMENT
In line with the policy of the Federal Government to secure the economic environment for greater productivity and influx of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tincan Island Command, has arrested 11 suspects for smuggling band items into the country through the nation’s port.
In the same vein, the Command has stepped up security surveillance at the port to check the activities of agents and importers doing business there, to ensure that offensive goods are not smuggled into the country through the nation’s port.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Tincan Island Command, Comptroller Zakari Jubrin, disclosed this in a chat with Sunday Vanguard, during a visit to the port, stressing that bringing contra-band goods into the country through the back door constitutes serious economic sabotage to government policies on industrial development.
He added, “Aside from anti-smuggling campaign, we are sustaining our unprecedented revenue profile since my assumption of duty as the CAC of the Command. For instance, our revenue collection between January and August 2013 shows a huge sum of N151.2billion, which is the highest so far at Tincan Command. In January this year alone, we recorded N16.3billion, as against N14.5billion realised the same period in 2012.
Others include N16.2billion in February, N17.5billion in March, N19.1billion in April, N19.9billion in May, N17.6billion in June, N20.4billion in July and N23.6billion in August this year. The cumulative revenue is N151.2billion as against N139.4billion collected in the same period in 2012. The total revenue difference is N11.6billion.”
He went on, “Seizures returns for the period under review shows a total of 159 seizures with the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N481.3million. These include 40footer containers 92, 20footer containers 47, unpacked vehicles 3 and other items 17. The impounded goods include tissue paper, furniture, vegetable oil, soft drinks, used clothes, generators, used tyres, lace materials, automotive batteries, expired frozen products, used shoes, television sets, printed wax, cartons of whiskey, bales of second hand clothes and bags of basmati rice among many others.”
On auction of seized items to the public, the CAC warned members of the public not to patronise people calling for auctioning of goods at the Command, as they are out to defraud unsuspecting members of the public. “I am appealing to members of the public not to patronise individuals calling for auction at the Command because they are fake. I want to state categorically that there is nothing like that at any Customs Command. Auction papers are given from the Customs head quarter in Abuja, through the directives of the Comptroller General, after due process of condemnation of seized items must have been carried out by the appropriate authority.”
Responding to question on the measures put in place by the Command to check activities of street traders and hawkers at the port in view of the security challenge in the country, he said, “That is the challenge we are facing at present, but we are using our Task-force team to monitor and ensure that appropriate security standard is maintained within the Command.
We would not hesitate to arrest and prosecute anyone caught smuggling band items into the country. For instance, looking at Nigeria’s economy at 53 years of independence, it is clear that Customs reform through the initiative of the Comptroller General, Dikko Inde, has contributed greatly to national development in terms of revenue generation, anti-smuggling campaign, capacity building and other areas of economic growth and development. The reform has also repositioned the economy for greater productivity.”