By Ifeyinwa Obi
Anti-Smuggling Team of the Nigeria Customs Services has recorded N347.2 million seizures in the South-south, Southeast in its December 2010 operations.
Mr Joseph Attah, Deputy Public Relations Officer, said in Abuja that the team had on its first outing seized items worth N62.4 million and another seizure worth N185million in the last week of December.
The team Coordinator, Ayodeji Akintola, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs, said the seizure were based on tip offs by Nigerians.
On the Benin axis, Akintola said the team seized four trucks, which were loaded with assorted imported furniture. He added that the items were worth N70 million.
He stated that two trucks loaded with about 8,000 cartons of imported frozen chicken were also seized as their importation contravened the import prohibition order.
He put the value of these seizures, including the truck used to convey the products at N40 million.
Akintola said the team in the Benin axis also intercepted and seized 13 assorted imported used cars valued at N10 million.
He said: ‘A container No. PCIU85035_0 was intercepted by our men at the Benin Toll_Gate and on closer examination of the documents used in clearing it, we discovered some irregularities.’
On the PortHarcourt/ Calabar axis, Akintola said the vigilance of one of his officers paid off with the seizure of a one_by_20ft container loaded with imported non_alcoholic drinks, which is also under import prohibition list. This seizure, said the coordinator, is worth N40 million.
Besides, he claimed that intelligence report in Calabar led one officer to one of the beaches where smuggled items were brought into the country from the neighbouring Republic of Cameroon.
He said: ‘During the raid, two trucks that were loaded with new canvass footwears, assorted female and children foot wears and imported soaps were seized and taken to the Customs warehouse in Calabar. The total value of this seizure, he disclosed, is N5 million.’