The Comptroller of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘B’ with headquarters in Kaduna Dalha Wada Chedi has disclosed that Smugglers now liaise with bandits to carry out their smuggling activities.
This is as NCS, also handed over $54,330, bribe money its officers rejected from importers of tramadol at the Tin-Can Island command of the service.
In a press statement made available to LEADERSHIP by the Command’s public relations officer, Ngozi Okwara, the rejection of the bribe money was in line with the zero tolerance of the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi.
According to Okwara, the Tin Can Island Command Customs Area Controller, Compt. Dera Nnadi, however, handed over the bribe money to the Lagos Zonal Commander of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Michael Wetkas.
Chedi said despite the smugglers tactics the FOU Zone ‘B’ has made various seizures within the period under review (September-November) with the total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N2.88 billion.
The comptroller reiterated that their primary assignment is that of suppression of smuggling and the combat of all anti-economic activities in all its ramifications, which they do through vigorous customs host community relationship and partnership with all relevant agencies of government.
Towards this end, he said the Unit has recorded a total of 242 seizures of 21 different items between the date of his resumption and now, which according to him clearly speak of the resolve of the Unit to continue to improve on their strategies and overall performances by building on the strong foundations he inherited.
“ l wish to immediately draw your attention to the fact that the closure of all land borders with Niger Republic is in full force, l wish to remind all and sundry that our Unit will continue to ensure full compliance with the directives of the leadership and management of the Nigeria Customs Service saddled with the duty of implementing the federal government directives”.
He said the Unit under his leadership will continue to leverage on the policy thrust of the Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi in terms of all operational processes aimed at achieving optimal results.
He called on all stakeholders, especially traders and business people, including all Nigerians to eschew all activities that are in violation of the customs extant laws, so that we can continue to respect ourselves and support the development and growth of our national objectives; stressing that, “we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that all acts of smuggling and anti-economic activities are fully challenged and the full force of the law brought to bear.
“We are not unaware that within the ember months and especially this yuletide period, many would want to engage in illegal activities, smugglers and all other unscrupulous traders are warned to steer clear of Zone B, our men are fully on ground and combat ready to act in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and as enshrined in the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
“The statistics of the detentions and seizures made within the period under review with the Total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N2.88 billion only” he disclosed.
Items seized include 61 used Vehicles worth N2.07 million, 18 means of conveyance worth N236,386,387.47 2991 Bags of Foreign Parboiled Rice (50Kg each) worth N202,202,737.20, 25 Bags of Foreign Parboiled Rice (25Kg each) N994,815.00, 292 Foreign Refined Vegetable Oils (25litres each) worth N17,943.400.00, 2131 Cartons of Spaghetti, Macaroni & Couscous worth N17,972,861.32 and 640 Bales of Foreign Secondhand Clothings worth N137,356,492.15.
Other seizures are 147 sacks of foreign second hand shoes worth N21,957,573.75, 360 cartons of frozen poultry products worth N20,308,932.00, 120 Cartons of Foreign Pomade worth N8,973,421.20, 98 Pieces of Foreign Jack Knives worth N1,242,961.44, 34 Cartons of Foreign Condensed Milk worth N3,808,451.20, 1972 Jerry cans of PMS (25 litres each) worth N22,975,811.15 and 20 Bundles of Foreign Used Tyres worth N917,978.40.
The rest of the seized items are 16 Cartons of Foreign Hookah (Tobacco) worth N4,563,136.00, 337 Cartons of Foreign Cigarettes worth N80,278,792.00, 78 Cartons of Foreign Medicaments worth N3,580,115.76, 870 pieces Foreign Machetes worth N7,586,186.85, 212 Cartons of Foreign Milky Creamer worth N5,525,829.80, 76 Bags of Ammonium Sulphate (25Kg each) worth N15,724,096.38, 76 Cartons of expired seasoning worth N4,679,073.38 and 10 Bags of Foreign Flour worth N695,614.00.
The comptroller however said the modest success is in lieu of their intelligence drive and improved strategies to raise their operational performances while commending critical partners such as the Military, Nigeria Police Force, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and all other sister agencies.
All seized Pharmaceuticals items were handed over to the NAFDAC for further investigation and prosecution.
Meanwhile, Compt Nnadi, said the Tramadol were falsely declared as electrical appliances valued at over N856m with a view to conceal them while the cash were offered to compromise the Customs officers
The Controller said the act is in clear violation of Section 233 of Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023 and commended the officers who stood their grounds to work ethically and lawfully in the interest of national security.
He further called for continuous compliance on the part of port users and reminded them that the NCS with the collaboration of sister agencies like EFCC will continue to frustrate criminal activities in the port
Nnadi thanked Comptroller Oloyede, who under his watch, this seizure was achieved and described him as a good example of the NCS.
He said the two suspects arrested in connection with the two containers are currently being investigated by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control for possible prosecution.
Michael Wekas while taking over the cash, described the feat as a victory for the country and to all the security agencies. He specifically celebrated the officers of the NCS that achieved it.
Wetkas also lauded the the Comptroller General for the letter of commendation in appreciation of the six Customs officers who refused to bow to pressure and inducement from the owners of the illicit drugs.
He promised continued collaboration between the EFCC, NCS and sister agencies. According to him, the era of working without collaboration is gone as the agencies now work closer