By Ifeyinwa Obi
THE Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it intercepted contraband valued at N153.6m in May.
The Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejesieme, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the command also intercepted contraband valued at N91m in the corresponding period of 2012.
“May 2013, the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘’A“ intercepted a total of 262 seizures of assorted contraband valued at N153, 678,768 with a Duty of N25, 359,073, and a Duty Paid Value of N179, 037, 841,” he said.
He said the zone also had a total of 18 suspects arrested in connection with the seizure. “A comparative analysis, at least you can see from the board here that for the corresponding period of last year, we had a total of 177 seizures of assorted contraband valued at N91 million. Total Duty is N10 million with a Duty Paid Value of N101 million and we also had 38 suspects during the period.
“Comparatively speaking, if you look at the two reports, you could see quite clearly, that we had actually raised our standards of operations because the successive Controllers of Federal Operations have always been putting modalities in place to make sure that we will continue to remain on top of our statutory assignment,” he added.
He said that some of the suspects apprehended along with the seizures were still being investigated, while some of them had been charged to court.
Ejesieme said the number of suspects declined to 18 in May 2013 from 38 in the corresponding period of 2012 due to the awareness campaign disseminated to the public against smuggling. He advised the smugglers to desist from criminal acts which he described as injurious to the nation’s economy.
“Apart from that we need to also help develop our GDP because the more we continue to smuggle the more it affects us, the more issues of unemployment become pronounced.
“If they decide to be recalcitrant, Customs particularly the Federal Operations Unit would continue to wreak havoc on them because if they continue to smuggle we would continue to arrest.
“If you go to warehouse now, in workshop area you will see the quantum to seizures that we have impounded over the period,” he said
The spokesman said it was better for smugglers to have a change of attitude and channel their money in more useful ventures instead of using it to engage in smuggling activities because “I can assure you that we are not relenting.
“Moreso now that we have been so motivated by the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde CFR, and his management team.”
He said a new comptroller, Isa Nuhu, had been posted to the unit since June 11 following the routine change that took place recently at the headquarters