The Federal Operations Unit Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday said it intercepted 156 trailer loads of rice; 656,414 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS) other contraband worth N13.908 billion in 2022.
The acting Controller of the Unit, DC Hussein Ejibunu stated during a press briefing in Lagos. He said that the anti-smuggling unit lost four officers and arrested 176 smuggling suspects out of which seven were convicted during the period.
Ejibunu also disclosed that seven other suspected smugglers are in detention: two suspects handed over to NDLEA, and one suspect handed over to the police for prosecution while 151 are on administrative bail.
He said the unit recovered shortfalls in duty payments and achieved a total collection of N878.344 million as revenue for the government in 2022, saying that the collected revenue would have been lost but for the intervention of FOU ‘A’, checking to be sure correct duties were paid into government coffers.
However, he said among the items seized last year were foreign parboiled rice, vehicles, drugs, textiles, petroleum products and other items in the import and export prohibition lists.
Aside from protecting the national economy, he said some of the seizures achieved protection of citizens’ health because dangerous, expired and harmful products were prevented from being smuggled into the country.
“In terms of volume, rice topped the list of our seizures. We seized 93,102 X 50kg which amounts to about 156 trailer loads of rice. Even our newly constructed warehouse had an overflow of seized rice,” he said.
According to him, a total number of 108 automobiles comprising trucks, tankers, cars and motorcycles were seized either as smuggled items or as means of conveyance of smuggled items.
“Illicit drugs seized within the year under review are, 7,354 kg and 4,975 tablets of Cannabis sativa, 233 cartons X 225 milligrams, and 82 packs X 225 milligrams of Tramadol. It is pertinent to remind us that these hard drugs fuel crime and insecurity. For petroleum products, this Unit seized 656,414 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS); that is, about 20 tanker loads of fuel from economic saboteurs who seek to impoverish the majority of our country’s people by taking out petrol subsidized for citizens’ benefit to be sold in other countries.
“On a sad note, four (4) of our officers namely: Late inspectors of Customs TP Astor, and A Onwueguzie, and Assistant Inspectors of Customs, Musa, R and Bristol, E lost their lives in active service while confronting smugglers last year.
While we frowned at such murderous acts, we also ensured that those behind some of the killings were arrested to face justice,” he said.
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