BY UDEME CLEMENT
The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), zone A, Lagos , has recorded 700 seizures with total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N473million within five months of operation.
The Command has also arrested 50 suspects caught with smuggled items for what it described as economic sabotage and criminal activities.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, Kane Emmanuel Dede, said the seizures were recorded in respect ofÂ items ranging from textile materials to house-hold equipment, adding that the Command also realised over N125million as revenue generation within the same period.
On what necessitated the arrest, he said, â€œSmuggling would not help us as a people and the economy in any aspect. Our effort is to stem the tide in this criminal activity to enhance sanity in our economic environmentâ€ addicts,Â â€œwe are advising Nigerians indulging in smuggling to have a rethink and stop. Smuggling is damaging to the economy because it does not allow economic growth and development and would not help our industries in any way.
Let those goods be manufactured here in the country. By so doing, it would create employment for many people especially our youths and would in turn generate revenue to boost income flow in the economyâ€.
On what FOU is doing to curb the menace he said, â€œwe are working with government and other security agencies in the country to tackle activities of smugglers that have become prevalent in the entire country.
In our daily operations, we have discovered that smuggling in Nigeria has taken a new dimension as culprits now use luxury buses meant for public transportation to convey contra-band items. Aside from that, the cooperation of officers in the unit enabled us to re-strategise by extending our operations far into the creeks where smugglers have re-routed for easy passage.
The initiative is to curtail activities of smugglers, which constitute a major impediment to the growth of local industriesâ€.
Dede who frowned at the new techniques used by smugglers in perpetrating this illegal act stressed,Â â€œwe are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that those found culpable are brought to book. Smuggling is no longer business as usual because such criminal act must be eliminated for local industries to thriveâ€.
Some of the goods impounded areÂ used tyres, bales of new clothes and fairly used materials, furniture,Â pirated CDs, new and fairly used jean trousers,Â bags, boxes, refrigerators and commercial motor-cycles popularly known as Okada used for carriage were also confiscated.