By Ifeyinwa Obi

THE Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ Ikeja unit has warned smugglers to toe the line of sanity with a view to completely eradicating the menace from the system.

The Unit in its latest report on anti-smuggling activities further warned that smugglers should keep away from smuggling , noting that the Federal Operations Unit will continue to deal with anybody or group that might want to test its will.

This is even as it recorded a total of 1,487 (One thousand four hundred and eighty seven) various contraband goods between January to May 2013, valued at N445,040,080 (Four hundred and forty five million, forty thousand and eighty naira).

Payable duty: Accordingly, this follows with a payable duty of Eighty one million, six hundred and seventy nine thousand, nine hundred and fifty one naira (N81,679,951) and a duty paid value of Five hundred and twenty six million, seven hundred and twenty thousand and thirty one naira (N526,720,031).

While assuring all genuine stakeholders of the Command’s cooperation and support in terms of legitimate trade facilitation, the CAC Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ Ikeja., Nuhu said the report covers the giant strides of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ in enforcing very strictly the ban on importation of Rice through the land borders.

Remarkable exploits
It said: “Our remarkable exploits on suppression of smuggling generally follows the strategies which the Controller initiated in this campaign as well as our resuscitated collaboration and synergy with all the critical stakeholders, particularly the Military, Police, Para-Military, the various associations in the Maritime Industry as well as media.

Anti-smuggling report: Accordingly, he said in the report that the unit recorded one thousand four hundred and eighty seven (1,487) various contraband goods between January 2013 – 18th May 2013, valued at Four hundred and forty five million, forty thousand and eighty naira (N445,040,080) with a payable duty of Eighty one million, six hundred and seventy nine thousand, nine hundred and fifty one naira (N81,679,951) and a duty paid value of Five hundred and twenty six million, seven hundred and twenty thousand and thirty one naira (N526,720,031).

Seizures: Out of these figures, he said the unit seized and destroyed Twenty three thousand, five hundred and sixty two (23,562) cartons of assorted Poultry Products valued at Eighty-two million, four hundred and sixty seven thousand naira (N82,467,000), a payable duty of Sixteen million, four hundred and ninety three thousand, four hundred naira (N16,493,400) with a duty paid value of Ninety eight million, nine hundred and sixty thousand, four hundred naira (N98,960,400)

Similarly, according to him, the Unit recorded Eighteen thousand, five hundred and fifty (18,550) bags of 50kg parboiled Rice valued at ninety two million, seven hundred and fifty thousand naira (N92, 750,000), with a duty of Nine million, two hundred and seventy-five thousand (N9, 275,000) and a duty paid value of one hundred and two million, twenty five thousand naira (N102, 025,000).

These figures, according to him represent more than 50 per cent increase when compared with the report of the corresponding period of last year.

Volatile areas: Consequent upon the ban on Rice Importation through the land borders, the command, according to him beamed its searchlight on some volatile areas, particularly along the waterways which have been identified as flashpoints with a view to blocking all loopholes and supply chains.

“ The same strategy was also adopted in case of frozen Poultry Products and all of these strategies provided the unit the necessary impetus to up the ante in anti-smuggling activities over the period. Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria in its wisdom placed this ban on frozen Poultry as a proactive measure to protect the investments of our local farmers who have invested heavily on Poultry farming and other Agro-allied Industries. Also the issue of job creation for our teeming youths made it more imperative for the service to enforce the ban.

“Beyond this also is the need to safeguard the Health of the nation in view of the understanding that these imported frozen poultry products contain chemical substances that are injurious and detrimental to health” he explained.

Report on security, escort and protocol: During the period under reference, the unit, he said, has regularly played host to a number of VIP’s including ministers, foreign partners of NCS, members of the National Assembly, COWA Executives, for the recent foundation laying ceremony of proposed COWA International Secondary School in Seme as well as the Skill Acquisition programme for the Award of Certificates to COWA Members who went for various vocational trainings.

Future plans: During the first meeting between the Controller and all Unit/Sectional head, the Controller he said tasked all the officers to surpass the achievements of the previous year. Though the unit is not a revenue generating command, he added that its role in enforcing compliance with the Federal Government Policy in terms of trade remained very crucial. The unit will not relent on this statutory responsibility.

With this, he said that the Controller has regularly reiterated the operational readiness of the unit as it is now better positioned more than ever to confront these hydra-headed monsters of smuggling both in this year and beyond.

“The unit has put modalities in place as highlighted earlier to ensure that impressive results are achieved, particularly with the number of operational vehicles, arms/ammunition, etc, graciously made available to FOU ‘A’ by the Comptroller-General of Customs and his Management team” he added.

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