The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, said it intercepted 1,111 kegs, totaling 31,500 litres of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, on the verge of being smuggled to Benin Republic.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the acting customs area controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, DC Hussein Ejibunu said the smuggling of the products was to cause artificial scarcity of the products in the country.
Other seizures, according to him, included 177 kegs of vegetable oil at 25 litres each; 231 pieces of used tyres; 56 units of used fridges; 28 units of used motorcycles; 59 vehicles used as means of conveyance, among others.
He, however, said the intercepted contraband had a Duty Paif Value N3billion.
He said: “the unit intercepted 1,111 kegs of PMS at 25 litres each – meant to be smuggled to neigbhouring countries thereby creating artificial fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
“Other are, 177 kegs of vegetable oil at 25 litres each; 231 pieces of used tyres; 56 units of used fridges; 28 units of used motorcycles; 59 vehicles used as means of conveyance, among others with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3billion.”
In the recovery of lost revenues, he said, the revenue generated within the period under review through its interventions, are put at N104million, noting that, the aforementioned seizures are informed by sheer contraventions of relevant extant laws and for purposes of public enlightenment even as the federal government has since banned the importation of rice across land borders.
“Under Schedule 4 of the Common External Tariff which covers absolute prohibition list of goods by importation, Second hand clothing falls on Item 17. Under Schedule 3 which is Revised Import Prohibition List, Used tyre is under Item 16, Frozen Poultry Product is on Item 1, Vegetable Oil on Item 4 and unprocessed wood for export falls under Schedule 6 Item 4,” he pointed out.
Ejibunu further stated that the spirit of officers at the moment is quite high as expressed in the seizures recorded by the Unit.
For any contravention of the extant laws, he said, Customs officers are empowered to seize under Sections 46 and 64 of CEMA even as Section 47 of CEMA also empowers Customs officers to prosecute offenders and sentence them to 5 years in jail without option of fine.
In the period under review, a total of 41 suspects were arrested, 23 of whom were granted Administrative Bail while 18 are still in our custody.
Stating that operatives in the field have a well thought out strategies to nip their activities in the bud, he added that, “we can only continue to advise them in the spirit of patriotism to eschew smuggling and embrace genuine means of livelihood.”