Customs intercepts contraband items

David Adekunle, Lagos

Customs Area Controller, FOU Zone A Comptroller Muhammed Uba addressing journalists on the seizure.

The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone A has intercepted various contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1, 035,232,046.13 in the month of February 2018.

The seized items includes; 18 assorted vehicles, 4,201 bags of foreign parboiled rice (about seven trailers), 2,619 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1,105 jerry-cans of vegetable oil, 2,637 pieces of used tyres, 1,333 bales of used clothing, 2,001kg of Pangolin, 343kg of Elephant tusks.

Others are: one Roll Royce, one Chrysler, one Audi Q7, one Land Rover HSE, one Toyota Venza, one Ford Taurus, one Honda Cross Tour, four Mercedes Benz, three Kia Rio, one Escalade, among others of various types ranging from 2008 to 2015 model.

While some of the vehicles were intercepted along Ijebu ode expressway, others were evacuated from a car mart located in Lekki, Lagos.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba said that a 1/20 container no. CAIU0961053 was seized for false declaration.

He said that 17 suspects including a Chinese national, Mr. KO sin Ying had been arrested in connection with the seizures totalling 90.

Mohammed further stated that “within the month under review, the Warehouse Operations Team led by Assistant Comptroller Mutalib Sule, while on intelligence, raided an apartment in Ikeja, Lagos and evacuated 55 sacks of Pangolin shells weighing 2,001kg valued at N408, 319, 317.6 and 218 pieces of Elephant Tusks weighing 343kg and valued at N85, 156, 649.96.

“You will recall that the responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Service have undoubtedly increased tremendously overtime because of the implementation of different international protocols and conventions. The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES 1973) entails that customs Administration globally protects wild life by intercepting illegal trade on such animals. It further prevents the killings of endangered species since the tusks are only available after the killing of the elephant and pangolin”.

According to him, “In the spirit of inter-agency collaboration, the seized pangolin and tusks have been handed over to the Nigeria Environmental Standards and Regulatory enforcement Agency (NESREA) for further investigation in collaboration towards protecting our natural habitat, which you all witnessed earlier.

“For avoidance of doubt, our action is in line with the provisions of section 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (power to search premises), section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45, Laws of Federation of Nigeria (power to patrol freely)”.

He, however, stated that within the period under review, the unit also recovered N67, 945, 158.00 from demand notices raised on goods intercepted while attempting to beat the system through transfer of value and under declaration thereby making a cumulative of N1, 103, 177, 204.

Sammie Idika