The igeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, Owerri said it recorded 307 seizures of contraband items worth N4.7billion in 2016.
In a press statement made available to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday, Public Relations Officer of the unit, Ifeoma Onuigbo said the amount was a combination of both the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3.98billion and underpayment of N770million recovered for some of the seized items.
She credited the Controller of the unit, Mohammed Uba, as disclosing this while giving an annual report for the year 2016 He said the unit also arrested 234 suspects with 24 of the cases still pending in court.
A breakdown of the seized items include 169 motor vehicles worth N1.013billion; 2,725 cartons of narcotics (Indian hemp/hard drugs) worth N366.8million; 1,759 pairs, 85 cartons and 68 sacks/bales of foot wears worth N28million.
Others are 7,795 soap/detergents/toiletries with a DPV of N58.8million;107, 006 cartons of imported frozen poultry products with a DPV of N1.4billion; 1,018 pieces and 561 bales of bags/suitcases which had a DPV of N134million in addition to 5,794 rethread and used pneumatic tyres bearing a DPV of N97.5million.
In addition, the Controller said 50 cartons and 147 pieces of beverages/confectionary/juices; 14,006 bags of rice; 2,333 cartons and 1,598 pieces of furniture and parts thereof and
273 cartons of 2 litres of vegetable oil among others were seized in the review period.
He said the seizures recorded was in contrast to the total seizure made in the preceding year of 2015 which recorded a total sum of N2.8billion comprising a DPV of N2.7 billion and an underpayment recovered of N129.5million.
Uba assured that the Unit would continue to strategize and re-strategize to bring smugglers and collaborators to book.
He lamented that the federal government had continued to lose huge revenue as a result of the unpatriotic activities of smugglers who he said are trying to acquire wealth through the short cut warning such individuals to desist forthwith in their own interest.
He advised Nigerians not to use the global economic downturn as an excuse to ruin themselves and their families as the NCS would not entertain any sacred cow in its determination to make smuggling a thing of the past in the country.