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Nigeria Customs seizes N142.3m contraband

Customs Officers Impound Containerised Contraband Photo: File

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In its continued anti-smuggling drive in the country, the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri, Imo State capital, have made various contraband seizures estimated at N142,300,000.

The illegal items freshly intercepted include five trucks transporting five 1×40 containers laden with 5,040 cartons of wine and 143 jumbo bales of garments within the zone, The Sun reports.

The source says Comptroller Olusemire Kayode, Customs Area Controller, who made the disclosure said the tightening of the nation’s land borders had forced smugglers to change their tactics by going through the ports to conceal offending articles of trade in containers.

According to Comptroller Kayode, two of the containers bearing the contraband were originally declared as agricultural spraying machines, but had 143 jumbo bales of male and female underwear concealed within.

“We have two containers here laden with ladies and men’s underwear, but declared as an agricultural sprayer, whereas we have just 23 pieces of the agricultural sprayer in the container.

“The PAAR was issued and released as an agricultural sprayer. Behind the first layer of the agricultural sprayer machines are jumbo bales of pants and bras concealed to evade payment of duty,” he said.

Agricultural equipment has 5% duty whereas garments attract 20% duty and 5% VAT. With the tightening of our borders, it is difficult to smuggle through the border, now they have changed tactics and as they change we are steps ahead of them.

“We always have credible intelligence from the headquarters. There is nothing you do we do not know, no matter the time of the day we are always on duty,” he assured.

False declaration under Section 46 of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) entails forfeiture of such affected items to the government.

Our anti-smuggling activities are structured to outwit whatever strategy smugglers come up with, he added.

“Despite government efforts to improve the economy those we see as our albatross will not desist from going against government policies.

“We have three containers declared as industrial salt; and when it was examined no single bag of salt was found in it.

“They are laden with red grape non-alcoholic champagne, which is prohibited because it is non-alcoholic and can be produced in this country, the Area Comptroller disclosed.

He further wondered about the sea of cartons brought into the country under the guise of salt. But it is not salt, he stated.

“It is a non-alcoholic drink falsely declared to evade payment of duty and this is contraband. It was not even concealed at all,” Kayode noted.

He urged smugglers to embrace legitimate trade and key into implementation of government policies.

“Before government makes any policy it is deliberated on by think tanks that ensure the policy is of immense benefit to the nation,” he noted.

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