The Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated N5.3 billion at the Idi-Iroko border in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state in the year 2012, the Command has disclosed. This is as against N3.7 billion recorded in 2011 at the same border and represents 31 percent revenue increase and a cumulative difference of N1.7 billion.
In the year under review, the Command recorded 1,084 seizures. These include vehicles, rice, frozen poultry products, textile materials, premium motor spirit, vegetable oil, Indian hemp, fairly-used clothes and shoes with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N694 million. It also recently intercepted a bulldozer excavator being smuggled into the country through Idi-Iroko.
Similarly, the Command posted N568 million in January 2013 alone, as against N381 million recorded in the same period in 2012, representing 33 percent revenue increase and a cumulative difference of N186 million, which it said had never been attained at the Command before.
Speaking with pressmen at Idi-Iroko border at the weekend, Ade Dosunmu, the Customs comptroller, Ogun State Command, submitted that the success recorded in the fight against smuggling and borderline crime as well as the revenue generation for Federal Government were due to effective mobilisation and motivation made on Customs officers working in the Command.
Dosunmu, who listed some of the Command’s achievements to include upgrading of the Customs Clinic at Idi-Iroko with x-ray machine, renovation of armoury as well as junior and senior officers’ mess halls, and repositioning the Customs officers to withstand smugglers and prevent borderline crime, also attributed the Command’s success to co-operation and understanding of borderline communities, as youths of those communities serve as informants to operation officers.
He stated further that he had acquired an acre of land “for all imported cars landed from across the border with Republic of Benin for duty payment”, but lamented that some Customs officers were wounded and maimed in the interdiction of smuggling, adding, however, that such “has not dampened our spirit to confront the smugglers and do the job as mandated by Customs laws”.
Meanwhile, the NCS has urged both the federal and state governments to explore and maximise the economic potentials inherent in Free Trade Zones (FTZs) across the country which can generate several billions of dollars to government coffers and create jobs for Nigerians, saying Ogun-Guangdong FTZ alone can generate 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The effective focus and exploration of Free Trade Zones across the country, said Dosunmu, would strengthen the economy and help reduce unemployment rate in the country, thereby reducing crime and criminal activities, especially smuggling and borderline crimes.
RAZAQ AYINLA, Abeokuta