The Controller, Federal Operations Unit of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ikeja, Comptroller Umar Dahiru, said the unit impounded goods with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N780.4 million between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2016.
The Public Relations Officer of the unit, Mr Uche Ejesieme, said this in a statement, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.
He said that the unit also apprehended 69 suspects in connection with the seizures.
“Comparatively, the report represents a positive increase when compared with the report of the corresponding period of 2015,’’ the NAN quotes the controller as saying.
He confirmed that over N297 million was recovered through the various interventions during the period.
Dahiru said that the achievements did not come on a platter of gold in view of the challenges the unit continued to face with miscreants masquerading as smugglers.
“Every now and then our operatives are confronted by these street urchins with hostilities, aimed at frustrating the efforts of our operatives.
“It is instructive to note that these smugglers are deadlier than armed robbers both in style and mode of operations.
“However, I am pleased to tell you that our operations have benefitted from the training and re-training policy of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali,’’ Dahiru said.
The Controller said the unit continued to develop new strategies for fighting smuggling, adding that it was on the basis of this that the unit had remained on top of its statutory mandate.
“We not only seize from the smugglers, we also cut their supply chains and prosecute culprits so as to serve as a deterrent to others,’’ he said.
Dahiru said, “The Service believes that the fight against smuggling cannot be undertaken by the Customs alone, hence our call on Nigerians to partner with us in ensuring complete decimation and blocking of smugglers’ supply chains.’’
“We do this principally because of our deep commitment toward ensuring the protection of the economy and enforcement of fiscal policies in terms of trade.
“Our resolve is unshaken and our commitment is total. We will stop at nothing until we become satisfied that we have completely suppressed smuggling in our clime, ‘’ the controller said.
According to the statement, the controller also received members of the House of Representatives Committee on Customs.
Dahiru expressed his appreciation of the visit by the committee, adding that such a visit would naturally motivate officers to greater efficiency.
He informed the committee members that the unit recently delivered over 30,000 bags of rice, 9,000 cartons of vegetable oil and a large quantity of second-hand clothings to Internally- Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in the North East in line with the Presidential directive.
The committee members were conducted round the Government warehouse of the unit and other facilities including the portion recently gutted by fire.
The committee led by its Chairman, Rep. Ahmed Chanchangi, visited the Customs unit in continuation of members’ oversight visits to Customs commands in Lagos.
Chanchangi said that the visit was for the committee members to have an ‘on the spot assessment’ of all Customs projects under construction.
He said that the visits would also show revenue generated so far in 2016 as well as the challenges being faced by the service.