Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Western Marine Command (WMC), intercepted contrabands including parboiled rice, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and other items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N110.2 million, between January to March, 2023.
The Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), WMC Comptroller Oduadu Salefu, in a media conference in Lagos today, disclosed that the seizures were recorded in about 15 incidents.
Salefu said that the cumulative analysis of seizures was 1,519 bags of 50kg-size foreign parboiled rice; 8,825 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) contained in 468 kegs of 25 liters each.
Other seizures were; “700 pairs of foreign-used shoes; 20 used foreign ladies bags; 88 cartons of Caro White Cream (bicaching cream), 50pairs of expired tyres, 3 Outboard boat engines and one water pumping machines. All items were seized at various intervals within the period under review”
He added that following enforcement operations, five suspects had been arrested and granted administrative bail, pending when they will be arraigned in Court.
“In line with the responsibilities conferred on the NCS by the provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria LFN 2004 as amended, the command continues to suppress smuggling along the South-Western waterways and Creeks.
“All actions of our operatives are in line with the provisions of Sections 149 (Power to vehicles/ship) and 158 (Power to patrol freely) of the Customs and Excise Management Act(CEMA) Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the importation of foreign parboiled rice, HS Code 1006.30.1000, is restricted in Nigeria by the Federal government since March 2016.”
“Any improper importation of foreign rice, contrary to allowed trade route restriction, is liable to forfeiture, further to section 46 of the Customs and Excise Management Act(CEMA) Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended,” he said.
The WMC boss added that any improper importation or exportation of PMS HS Code 2710.12.4000 and 2710.12.5000 across land borders and waterways in Nigeria, contrary to allowed trade route restriction, was liable to forfeiture further to section 46 and section 63 of Customs and Excise Management Act(CEMA) Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended.
The customs boss listed factors that aided their performance as the cordial relations and cooperation from members of their host communities who together with their leadership remain a major source of intelligence gathering.
He, however, appreciated the efforts of the Command’s officers and the Management of NCS, under the leadership of the Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) who continues to provide all necessary support and logistics for their operations.
“The Western Marine Command, on the March 28 and April 3, received in addition to its fleet of boats, four additional operational boats consisting of two gun boats and two logistics boat from NCS headquarters,” he said.
Meanwhile, he appealed to smugglers to end economic sabotage and unlawful trade and embrace legitimate trade as the WMC would not rest on its oars to rid the Creeks/Waterways of illegal trade practices.