by YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has saved a total of N1.4 billion for the federal government as it intercepted 37 brand new vehicles smuggled into the country from Republic of Benin.
This was even as the service also intercepted 12,081 bags of smuggled rice valued at N149 million. The smuggled vehicles which include, eight Lexus Jeep, 2017 model; 12 Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps, 2017 model and 17 Toyota Hilux, (2009-2016) models have a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.4billion.
Addressing journalists in Lagos yesterday, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), said the brand new vehicles were intercepted by the officers of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, Ikeja and the CGC Compliance team after it was imported through the land borders into Nigeria.
“This vehicle did not come from the port but the borders through unapproved routes. The smugglers in connivance with our officers know how to cut corners. We have over 4,000km of border mass and we can’t line up officers to cover it.
“They knew they are bringing in through unapproved routes and will go through dusty roads so they paint it with engine oil so that officers won’t know it’s brand new but when they were washed they will have a new look. That is why we need all the information.”
The Customs boss who reiterated federal government stance on ban of vehicles importation through the land borders said the vehicles are outrightly seized by the service.