The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’ Owerri, has intercepted 5,200 live ammunition, 1,215 bags of foreign rice, a bullet proof Toyota Landcruser SUV and other contraband goods worth N386 million.
The Controller, Mr Yusuf Lawal, who confirmed this on Thursday January 7, while addressing the media in Owerri, Imo State capital said the seizures were made between November 23 and December 27, 2020.
“Having intensified its anti-smuggling operations, the unit intercepted 5,200 live ammunitions (cartridges of 30GR 70mm Calibre ) and various contraband with a duty paid value (DPV) of Three Hundred and Seventy Eight Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Five Naira only (N378,751,935.00) between November 23rd to December 27th 2020,” he stated.
He said that the DPV of the bullet proof Landcruser and other three vehicles seized during the period was N221 million.
“Similarly, the unit through its interventions recovered Seven Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty One Naira only (N7,557,731.00) from demand notices on general goods that tried to cut corners from seaports in the guise of false declaration, transfer of value, and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the coffers of Federal Government of Nigeria, making a cumulative sum of Three Hundred and Eighty Six Million, Three Hundred and Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira only (N386,309,666.00) within the month under review making it a landslide in recent times.”
Lawal expressed concerns over the trends in arms and ammunition smuggling in recent times making reference to the interception in Lagos in 2017, in kwara in 2018 and just recently in Kebi using different routes and now the interception of 5,200 live ammunition cartridges (30GR 70mm Calibre) in December 2020 concealed with other goods and household items in a passenger vehicle: Toyota Sienna with reg no: DKA 237 DW along Nwezenyi Ikom Road Cross River, based on credible and timely intelligence.
“Only God knows what would have happened if these cartridges get to its destination unchecked, considering the fragile security of the Nation: from Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, banditry to insurgency,” the Comptroller stated, adding that the seized ammunitions fall under schedule 4 of the Common External Tariff, which its importation is absolutely prohibited.
Other seized items include 1,215 bags of foreign parboiled rice 50kg each mostly concealed in bags of beans, maize and groundnut seeds all with the aim of deceiving our officers, 38 Jumbo bales of used clothing, and 204 cartons of imported tomatoes.
Others are four used exotic vehicles including one new bullet proof Toyota Landcruiser 2019 model (without end-user certificate), two Toyota Hilux 2016 and 2015 respectively, one Mercedes Benz ML350 2015, and other controlled pharmaceutical products at various locations. Three suspects were arrested in connection to these different seizures.
Comptroller Lawal attributed this achievement to the leadership style of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service for their efforts in recognizing hard work, dedication and commitment.
“Without the Management motivation and necessary logistics support, we won’t have attained this feat within this feat.”