The Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 62 fairly-used vehicles, 28,180 bags of imported rice and others valued at over N1.5 billion in 11 months.
The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Garba, said that the seized items were smuggled into the country from January to November.
Garba said in a statement by the Seme Command Spokesman, Abdullahi Hussaini, that the seizure was part of the tremendous achievements recorded by the command in its anti-smuggling operations.
He said that the command’s anti-smuggling operations yielded a total of 1,302 seizures with the duty paid value (DPV) of N1.6 billion.
“These seizures include: 180×50kg bags of foreign rice, equivalent of 47 trailers load with DPV levy of N777.7 million; used vehicles with DPV of N220 million and 140×50kg of sugar with DPV of N588,000.
“Others include: 1100 bales of used clothing and 101 sacks of used clothing with DPV of N70 million; 185 sacks of shoes, bags, belts, slippers new and used with DPV of N27 million,” he said.
Garba attributed the harvest of seizures to the “strategic policy measures put in place to tackle the menace of smuggling, irregular migrations and other trans-border crimes”.
He said that his commitment was to ensure that smuggling business became unattractive through vigorous community and public enlightenment, sensitisation on the dangers of smuggling and its impact on economy and national security.
The comptroller urged economic saboteurs to take the advantage of various Federal Government programmes on agriculture such as anchored borrowers for rice farming, Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) and many others and key into legitimate earnings.
He said: “47 suspects were arrested in connection with different kinds of crimes committed, and were handed over to all sister agencies saddled with the responsibility of investigating and subsequent prosecution.
“From the feedback received, some suspects were released on administrative bails, while other cases were still undergoing various stages of trial in courts.
“It may delight you to note that four of the 47 suspects arrested have been convicted, haven pleaded guilty to the charges levelled against them by the Federal High Court, Ikoyi in Lagos State.’’