…As FOU Zone B effects 623 seizures 1H’19
By Eguono Odjegba
THERE are strong indications of an imminent reorganization in the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, following its recent return to its 25 commands structure.
Inside sources informed Vanguard Maritime Report that although the reorganization was partially already ongoing, massive personnel movement was expected in less than two weeks, within which period the newly created area commands are expected to begin full operations.
Key offices in the reorganization include the customs area controllers, CACs, valuation, customs intelligence unit, enforcement among others. The source also hinted that the service was also considering creating an anti-bunkering unit.
Meanwhile, the Federal Operations Unit Zone B of the Customs has made a total of 623 seizures with a Duty Paid Value of N1.1 billion in the first half of 2019, H1’19.
Controller of the Unit, Compt. Mustapha Sarkin-Kebbi told Vanguard Maritime Report that this year’s seizures and DPV almost doubled the corresponding period of 2018 which he put at N504 million.
He attributed the increase in the Unit’s anti-smuggling activities to improved strategies and increased morale of the operatives. Sarkin-Kebbi explained that 14 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures, stressing that two have so far been successfully prosecuted.
He disclosed that intelligence has shown that smugglers have resorted to planting spies around his operatives, but declared that his men will always be a step ahead and on top of their game using technology-driven intelligence and other legitimate enforcement and surveillance machinery.
He gave the breakdown of the seizures to include 1,550 packs of tramadol, 153 vehicles, 8,618 bags of rice, 820 cartons of spaghetti, 333 units of used tyres, 1,035 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 167 bags of sugar and 147 bales of used clothing.
He further explained that the Unit has also uncovered and foiled attempts by smugglers to repackage imported foreign rice is locally grown rice bags to deceive unsuspecting consumers. Collaborating, the Unit Public Relations Officer, Usman Abubaker, explained that the re-bagged contraband rice was part of the seizures recorded in the report.