April 20, 2024

Customs FOU confiscates over N36billion of prohibited cargoes


. . . Loses 5 officers to smugglers

By Godwin Oritse

THE Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service in Ikeja, Lagos has said that the Unit lost five of its officer to smugglers just as it seized smuggled goods worth N35.9billion.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of the of the leadership of the Unit, outgoing Comptroller, Controller Hussain Ejibunu who has been redeployed the Customs Headquarters in Abuja, said that a total of 3,189 seizures were recorded with a duty paid value of N35.908billion adding that 386 suspects arrested in connection with some of the seizures.

Ejibunu who took over the Unit in September 2012 also disclosed that 22 people were convicted for committing different Customs offences noting his stewardship of the Unit enjoyed the morale and logistics support that was needed for him to succeed.

He also said that the Unit recovered the sum of N2,256billion through the issuance of demand notices D/N, due to transfer of value and wrong classification.

Some of the prominent seizures recorded by the Unit during his two and half years as Comptroller include 222,285 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent 370 Trailer loads), 1,140,864 Litres of premium motor spirit (equivalent to 33 Tankers), 16,432.30kg of Indian Hemp, 26,303pieces of used pneumatic tyres, 11,175 Bales of used clothes, 751, 70mm of live cartridges, 12,912 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products, 5,033 pieces of donkey skin, 450 x 106kg drums of carbide, 233 cartons of  225mg of tramadol, 7,640 cartons of expired and unapproved drugs, 303 Units of foreign used vehicles and 104 Haojue motorcycles.

He said: “My appreciation also goes to the management, officers and men of this Unit for their untiring support, dedication, gallantry and uncompromising posture in the fight against smuggling and revenue recovery. You worked both day and night to ensure that the successes we recorded were achieved. Unfortunately, while on legitimate duties within Zone’s area of operations, eight (8) officers sustained different degrees of injuries while five (5) lost their lives in the line of duty; may their soulsrest in peace through the mercy of God (amen).

My journey of leadership of the Unit that commenced on the 10th September,2021 till date was a bit challenging but above all, very successful. A part of the challenges encountered when I assumed duty newly was the continued rate of suspected smugglers attacks on officers while on duty.

“To mitigate such levels of attacks, the Unit embarked on sensitisation programmes and courtesy visits to traditional rulers of border communities which yielded a drastic reduction in the levels of deadly confrontations and attacks.”

 “Other successes recorded by the Unit under my watch include; improved suppression of smuggling by making more seizures and the arrest of suspects served as a deterrent to intending smugglers.Increased revenue recovery through meticulous documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on goods found to have underpaid. Enhanced trade facilitation by providing escorts for goods on fast track for compliant traders.”

The seasoned anti-smuggling officer also commended traditional rulers around the border communities for their cooperation and some of whom visited the Unit twice to commiserate with the officers and men over the loss of some gallant men on duty.