By Damian Duruiheoma Owerri
The anti-smuggling unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone C, Owerri weekend said it impounded 22 exotic vehicles including five bullet proof cars, 2901 bags of foreign rice and other items with duty paid value, DPV of N591 million between November and December 13 this year.
Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the Unit, Comptroller Kayode Olusemire, who made this known in Benin City while briefing journalists, also decried the high level of desperation exhibited by the smugglers in order to evade arrest.
Olusemire listed the items impounded during the period to include, Armoured Toyota Hilux (2018 models) with DPV of N95.7million, three Armoured Toyota Land Cruiser (2017) with DPV of about N 218 million, one Armoured Range Rover(2007), two Toyota Camry LE (2018), one Toyota Corolla(2017), one Honda Pilot(2016), one Toyota Hiace Bus, three Mercedes Benz (2017) and others.
He said “We’re here to appeal to Nigerians to stop this illegal act of smuggling and waste of resources. Why should people travel abroad to buy cars worth several millions of naira and bring those vehicles into the country without paying duties to the government? “Again, before you import armoured vehicles, you should visit the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to get end user certificate because these are controlled vehicles that must not be allowed to get into wrong hands”.
The controller said people with who had the intention to import vehicles should visit the customs website to get the necessary information on the regulations.
He noted that many vehicle buyers did not know the difference between genuine and fake vehicles, advising the members of the public to first get the C (control) number of any vehicle they want to buy from any dealer and feel free to verify it at any customs formation before parting with their money because many people had lost their vehicles to the government because of fake documents.
intercepted in Calabar while 375 bags were seized in Benin City. He explained that that the trucks of foreign rice were impounded because the owners imported them through the land borders, adding that importation of rice could only be possible through the nation’s ports.
He stated that the service would continue to intensify efforts in seizing contraband foreign rice because the federal government had great interest in the production of local rice, for which loans had been given to many Nigerians to encourage them to go into rice farming. He lamented the high level of desperation the smugglers had adopted, disclosing that most of the trucks impounded for carrying
foreign rice were concealed with different items. “Like this one, they loaded 350 bags of foreign rice here and concealed it with foil to evade arrest while the other one loaded 25 bags of foreign rice and concealed it with bags of corn. But the eagle eyes of my men were able to detect what they have”, he said, adding that a total of six suspects were arrested in connection to the seizures made during the period under review.
Let me advise those economic saboteurs who see Yuletide season as a peak period for their nefarious acts to desist from such illegal business as the Unit has devised other tactical strategies that will chase them out of such illegalities.