Customs intercepts contraband, nabs 5 suspects

David Adekunle, Lagos

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The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone A has intercepted various contraband with a Duty Paid Value of Two billion, Five Hundred and Fifty-Seven Million, Two Hundred and Sixty-One Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty Naira, six Kobo (N2, 557,261,280.6) from the 1st to 19th of March, 2018.

The items intercepted include: 16 exotic vehicles, 2 Lexus Jeeps (RS350 2016, 2017 model), 1 Rolls Royce, 1 Lincoln Limousine (2014), 3 Toyota Camry (2009, 2013 and 2017 models), 1 Toyota RAV 4, 1 Toyota Avalon (2016), 1 Toyota Tundra, 1 Dodge among others.

Speaking to Journalists at FOU Zone A,Ikeja Headquarters ,the Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba put the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the 16 exotic vehicles at Three Hundred and Forty Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Five Hundred and Nine Naira, Fifty Kobo (N340, 770, 509.055).

Comptroller Mohammed stated that while 6 vehicles out of the number were evacuated along Lekki-Epe expressway based on intelligence, the remaining 10 were intercepted while on information patrol at various locations.

Other seized contrabands to include; 7,201 bags of foreign parboiled rice which according to him is equivalent to 12 trailers, 1,172 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1, 352 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 72 bales of used clothing, 464 pieces of used tyres, 407 sacks of pangolin scales and 629 pieces of textile Ankara material among others”, he said.

The Customs boss added that the seizures was the interception of 8 trucks laden with 3,351 bags of rice and 669 jerrycans of vegetable oil along Iseyin, Oyo/Osun axis and also the evacuation of 1,253 bags of rice 50kg each from a warehouse in Ogbomosho based on intelligence despite resistance.

He said the ban on importation of foreign rice through the land was to encourage and promote local production.

According to him, the need to support the federal government policy on rice, encourage local rice farmers, the millers and patronize our own nutritional rice cannot be over emphasized.

“Also, 407 sacks of Pangolin scales weighing 10,263kg was evacuated from an apartment at 64 Opebi Road, off Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos within the weeks under review with a Duty Paid Value of Two Billion, ninety-Four Million, Two Hundred and Forty-Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty-Six Naira, Sixty-Nine Kobo (N2,094,243,456.69).

“In the spirit of inter-agency cooperation, the Pangolin scales and the suspects will be handed over to the Nigerian Environmental Standard and Regulatory Enforcement agency (NESREA) for further investigation in collaboration towards protecting our natural habitat and protecting our endangered species, he added.

Comptroller Mohammed said Five suspects have been arrested in connection with these 89 seizures.

Nnenna.O