The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service has impounded 16 exotic vehicles including an Armoured Landcruiser, 4338 bags of foreign rice and fake drugs with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N501, 650,065.00.
The Zonal Controller, Comptroller. Olusemire Kayode, said that the seizure were between June and August this year.
He said that the interception of the contraband at different points within the Zone was a continuation of the relentless clampdown of smuggling activities by men of the Nigerian Customs.
According to him, one truck load of unregistered and fake pharmaceutical drugs (Chakarain Xtra Tablet) with a Duty Paid Value of N57million was also intercepted by the Customs officials along the Benin-Ore expressway.
Seven persons were arrested in connection with importation of the banned items.
Olusemire, gave the list of the seized items as, Bullet Proof Toyota Land cruiser (2013); Toyota Land cruiser (2012); Lexus IS 250(2006); Mercedes Benz MLS (2012 model); four Toyota Venza; three Toyota Hilux (2018, 2017, 2016 models), among others.
Also impounded were 595 bags of foreign rice, which were concealed in a Dangote Cement Truck to beat Custom checkpoints, bales of used clothing and used tyres.
Conducting newsmen round the impounded items, Olisemire, advised Nigerians to desist from wasting their hard earned resources by taking to smuggling as a business venture, adding that smugglers are losing a lot of money as they are being decimated by the NCS.
He further advised those buying cars to patronize reputable car dealers and always insist on sighting the Customs Certificate of cars before buying.
“Look at these cars that people bought from abroad, they should know that they are supposed to pay Customs Duty on the cars but they will rather prefer to cut corners and at the end the cars are impounded.
“Many people complain that the dealers they bought their cars from in the country scammed them, to that, I say, please endeavour to buy your car from a dealer who will not scam you. This is because it’s our duty to pick up any goods that are smuggled into the country. We have the statutory duty to do this, so taking us to Court won’t help you,” he said.
Olusemire further described the smuggling of foreign rice into the country as economic sabotage’ this is because we have arable lands across the country where rice can be grown in commercial quantity. Abakiliki, Kebbi, Anambra, Offada, Lagos, Adamawa name them. We have rice there and rice from there is in the markets. And the local rice is far more edible than foreign rice.
He said, ”One of the problems associated with the foreign rice is that most of them are expired. If you must import foreign rice, you must go through the ports. Why would anyone even go through the ports to bring rice when we have very arable lands all over the country that produce this food in abundance.”
He expressed happiness that Customs continuous efforts had reduced smuggling activities to the barest minimum, noting “that is why smugglers are devising very clandestine means of smuggling goods into the country.
“Example is this Dangote truck that has 595 bags of foreign rice concealed with bags of cement at the back. There are others who used GP thanks and silos to smuggle rice and other banned goods like used clothing, used tyres and others. But our target is to completely stop smuggling of contraband into country.”