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Saturday 19 December 2015

Customs raids smugglers’ forest, intercepts trucks load of rice

Customs raids smugglers’ forest, intercepts trucks load of rice

In line with the policy of the Federal Government to curtail smuggling of contra-band items into the country through the border lines, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Oyo/Osun Command, stormed a forest along Kishi- Igbeti area of Oyo State and intercepted five long trucks fully loaded with foreign rice, brought illegally into the country by smugglers.

Speaking, the Acting Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Mr. Abdulsalam Hassan, disclosed that the operation took place by 1.00am through intelligence gathering, as a combined team of officers from his Command bombarded the forest where recalcitrant rice smugglers hid huge imported foreign rice.

He said, “Our officers who were so determined, embarked on that operation in the forest at night through a tip off, and the bags of rice were seized and brought into the Command with five trucks as you can see here. The Duty Paid Value (DPV) for the rice is estimated at the monetary value of over N23.9million. This seizure would send a serious warning signal to those trying to sabotage our economy that there is no hiding place for smugglers in Oyo/Osun Command.  Also, there is no going back on duty payment for rice imports from the borders.”

He went on, “It is shocking to observe that notwithstanding the sensitisation campaigns embarked upon under the platform of Customs Community Consultative Forum (CCCF), some unscrupulous elements still continue to smuggle items into the country. The Command will not relent on its continuous enlightenment programmes to guide and facilitate trade, in order to enhance willful compliance with the law, while the long arm of the law awaits those unrepentant economic saboteurs who are out to destroy our economy”.

He added, “So far, the Command generated a total of N144.2million from 2156metri tonnes of rice between October and November this year, when the restriction on duty collection for rice from the borders was removed. This is a great achievement under the current management of the new Controller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retired).    Also, from January to November 2015, the Command realised a total of N13.2billion from revenue generation. Additionally, a total of 166 seizures, with a DPV of N395.1million were recorded by the Command. We are ready to confront the challenges that militate against our successes and continue to build on the achievements so far recorded in the areas of revenue generation and anti-smuggling.”

On the risk of carrying out such operation at night, the OC, Compliance, Abuja, Mr. Usman Galadima, explained that the officers from Oyo/Osun Command patrol the border region day and night to curtail smuggling of offensive items and prohibited goods illegally into the country through any means.

He stressed, “We operate under Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), which allows Customs to seize items that are illegally brought into the country without appropriate payment of import duty.

The law says that duty should be paid on specific items that are not prohibited before entry into the country. Therefore, these items were seized because after interception, there was no evidence of duty payment, whereas in law, you have to pay duty before entry. These procedures were not followed by those who brought in these items. We must continue to work tirelessly at ensuring that contraband items are not smuggled into the Command”.

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