Operatives of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) say about 339 smuggled vehicles worth N776 million were confiscated by Ogun State Area Command of Customs between January and August this year, just as it generates over N4.1 billion as import and excise duties within the same period.
Ogun State Area Command of Customs also impounded a truck of a popular cement manufacturer (name withheld) which was used by its driver to smuggle 3000 cartons of frozen turkey with duty paid value of N67.5 million in addition to the seized 11 packs of coconut-sized cannabis sativa, popularly known as Indian Hemp.
Speaking at Abeokuta Headquarters of Ogun State Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service on Monday, Sani Madugu, Customs Comptroller said that the feats made in terms of revenue and seizure were possible following the proactive measures put in place to check smuggling and dumping of substandard goods into the country.
While speaking on the seizure of frozen foods, the Comptroller said, “The last time we displayed the poultry products to you (journalists) was in idiroko were we intercepted 10 small vehicles fully loaded with frozen poultry products which were illegally imported into Nigeria after we laid ambush and got them. We seized about 5000 cartoons.
“Nigeria Customs Service, with the way we do our things, we are one step ahead of them and they have decided to connive with Dangote truck drivers. They started loading around 9pm till 3am the next day. They used the water creek and imported it from Cotonou into Nigeria. We monitored them and followed them and while they were on their way to their destination along the Lagos Ibadan expressway, we intercepted them along the Sagamu Interchange and arrested them.
“When they saw us coming they jumped out and we were able to intercept the truck and have a suspect in our custody. After our investigations they would be taken to Court. They would continue to devise new means in smuggling frozen poultry products but the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun State in particular would not relent in getting them.
“It is estimated to be 3000 cartoons according to the suspect. It is a prohibited item. Government has its reasons for prohibiting it and our work as Customs Service is to implement it. The suspect would alone be charged to court. The driver is on the run but the second person is in our custody. We are making contacts with them to come down to this place and when they come we would investigate them”, he concluded.
RAZAQ AYINLA, Abeokuta