By Innocent Orok
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Cuatoms Service (NCS), Strike Force in Zone ‘A’ said it has raised a Debit Notes (DN) worth more than N1.104 billion from importers that made false declarations on cargoes at the Lagos Seaports.
The DN which was raised by the NCS from importers who have paid lesser duties across the six Area Commands of the Service in the South West zone.
The Co-ordinator of the Strike Force in the Western Zone, Assistant Comptroller Abba Kakudi in a statement to journalists said the amount was generated through Debits Notes in the last six months of 2020.
According to him, the seizures were between January and June 11, 2020, adding that inspite of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected movement of goods, the Strike Force team were able to raise DN to the tune of N1.104 billion.
Speaking on the seizures made by the Unit, he said in the last two weeks, the Strike Force team has given a hard chase to smugglers who were desperate to unleash economic dislocation of the Country.
Giving the details of the seizures, he narrated , “Our seizures include; 1000 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice with the Duty Payment Value (DPV) N13.252 million, 10 Tokunbo vehicles with DPV of N31.184 million and 30 bales of second hand clothing with DPV of N2.160 million. It is important to note that in order to help the economy to grow, there is no need to import what we can produce here in Nigeria or bringing in prohibited items.”
According to him, the Federal Government has encouraged a lot of rice farmers in the country, where local rice is being produced in large quantity and even healthier than foreign rice, adding that traders should avail themselves of this opportunity to market our indigenous products in such a way, as to grow the economy maximally.
He said, “You will be surprised that in a bid to police the smugglers from bringing in these prohibited products, our officers face a lot of dangers as most of the smugglers are armed, sometimes not necessarily with rifles, but matches, charms and other dangerous weapons, but we are not overwhelmed.
“This ugly situation is experienced more around the creaks where inhabitants mobilise some underaged people against us, to the extent of calling us names as well as some stoning us, all in a bid to make/secure seizures.”
He therefore appealed to those who believe that smuggling is very lucrative to desist from it as Customs officers are are always a step above them in all their plots and strategies, saying that a smugglers is an economic saboteur and such trade cannot be the best means of livelihood due to inherent dangers as well as loses to those behind it.
He lamented that smuggling ruins the economy of any nation, adding that a lot of incentives have been provided by the Federal Government to revamp the nation’s economy and it should not be allowed to be reversed.
While warning Importers and Agents against aiding and abetting in the smuggling business. He however commended the Comptroller General of the Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) for providing all the required logistics and supports for his team to perform.