By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
abuja—THE Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Col Hameed Ali, retd, has set up a panel to investigate the recent military uniforms, items seizures made by the agency in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
The panel has Assistant Comptroller-General (ACG), Sanusi Umar, as chairman.
Col. Ali charged the panel which was inaugurated in Abuja, yesterday, to conduct a very thorough investigation of the seizures with a view to identifying those connected to the illegal importations.
Officers and men of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’ and Operatives of the Onne Area II Command Port-Harcourt at different times, since last month, intercepted (2X40ft) containers, MRSU 3040288 and MRKU 4909151 found to contain Military Camouflages and other items.
While the first interception was found to contain 11 bales, each containing 400 pairs of new set of military camouflage uniform totaling 4, 400 sets, the second interception was found to contain 620 sets of completely sewn military camouflage uniform and caps, 10,100 pieces of inner military T-Shirts, 512 pairs of military jungle boots.
The importations were contrary to Schedule 4(13) of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff which falls under Absolute Prohibition and Section 46(b) of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
While inaugurating the panel, the NCS boss said: “Even though preliminary investigations have led to the arrest of five persons including the importer of both consignments, it is imperative that a painstaking investigation is conducted to unravel all those who are remotely connected to the criminal importations with a view to punishing offenders and preventing recurrence.”
Col Ali disclosed that the agency collected N118 billion in August, the single largest to be realized in a month.
He attributed the performance to the upgrade of the electronic platform Nigeria Customs Information System, NISES, which, according to him, “has now effectively blocked all the leakages that were associated with the former platform.