The Tin Can Island Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 31 containers of 14,000 bags of rice valued at over N71 million.
The Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Dan Ugo, stated this when he conducted newsmen round the seizure. He said that a company named Destiny Ltd, made false declaration, adding that this led to seizure of the rice.
“Rice importation through seaports is not prohibited but the agent claimed in the manifest that he imported 31 containers of yeast. Our duties to government is to ensure compliance and any defaulting agent will bear the consequences which is already stated in the laws guiding Customs operations,” Ugo as said.
He said that the yeast claimed to be imported by the agent attracted five per cent duty, while the agent was trying to cut corners and shortchange government.
Ugo said that comparing the duty to be paid with that of yeast was a big loss to government.
The Deputy Comptroller-General, Administration and Discipline, Alhaji Iya Abubakar, said that the era of importers engaging in false declaration and hoping to escape Customs clearance was over.
Abubakar urged importers and agents to stop the criminal act of short-changing the government.
He said that Customs officers would search the rice thoroughly to confirm that the goods were all rice and not other things.
Abubakar said that Customs once intercepted a container having ammunitions and was declared as toys.
The Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’ of NCS, Assistant Comptroller-General Eporwei Edike, urged importers to feel free to bring rice through Nigerian ports only with honest declaration to fast track cargo clearance.
Edike said that honest declaration would not give room for containers to accumulate demurrage.
The Customs Area Controller, Tin-Can Island Customs Command, Comptroller Yusuf Bashar, said that the importer was not on customs fast track provision.
Bashar said that investigation was ongoing to arrest the agent involved in the consignment.
The controller, however, urged journalists, as part of the stakeholders in the maritime sector to endeavour to assist Customs on intelligence information to improve operations.
He said that the rice consignment was imported from China.
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