By Godfrey Bivbere & Esther Onyegbula
lagos—Federal Operations Unit, FOU, the anti-smuggling arm of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has intercepted exotic vehicles, trailer load of imported rice, poultry products and other products with Duty Paid Value, DPV of over N2.5 billion between March 1st and 19th.
Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the Unit, Garba Uba Mohammed, who disclosed this, said the seized items included 16 exotic vehicles mostly 2017 model, 7201 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 12 trailers, 1,172 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1,352 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 72 bales of used clothing, 464 pieces of used tyres, 407 sacks of Pangolin scales and 629 pieces of textile Ankara material among others.
The vehicles included two Lexus jeep (2016, 2017 model), one Rolls Royce, one Lincoln limousine (2014), three Toyota Camry (2009, 2013 and 2017 models) one Toyota Rav 4, one Toyota Avalon (2016) one Dogde. The 16 exotic vehicles alone have a DPV of over N340 million.
While six vehicles were impounded based on intelligence at a shop along Lekki – Epe expressway, the remaining 10 were intercepted while on information patrol at various locations.
According to Mohammed, “the ban on the importation of foreign rice through the land was to encourage local production.’’
Therefore, the need to support the Federal Government policy on rice is to encourage local rice farmers, the millers and patronize our own nutritional rice cannot be over emphasized.”
Among the seizures was the interception of eight trucks laden with 3,351 bags rice and 669 jerry cans of vegetable oil along Iseyin, Oyo/Osun Axis and also the evacuation of 1,253 bags of rice from a warehouse in Ogbomosho. based on credible intelligence despite resistance.
Also, 407 sacks of Pangolin scales weighing 10,263kg was evacuated from an apartment at 64 Opebi road off Toyin street, Ikeja Lagos within the period under review with a DPV of N2,1 billion (two billion ninety four million, two hundred and forty three thousand, four hundred and fifty six naira, sixty kobo.
In the spirit of inter agency cooperation the pangolin scales and the suspects will be handed over to Nigeria environment standards and regulatory enforcement agency (NESREA) for further investigation in collaboration towards protecting our natural habitat and protecting our endangered species. Five suspects were arrested in connection with these 89 seizures.