The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C” of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Owerri, has impounded contrabands with duty paid value (DPV) of N285.8 million.
The Zone C of the NCS also said that it recovered N5.79 million as an under payment from stakeholders in the zone.
The Customs Area Controller of the Zone, Victor Dimka, who made the disclosure on Friday in Owerri, said that five suspects had been arrested in connection with the contraband.
He said that while the suspects were currently been investigated, 13 other cases of smuggling were already in court.
The comptroller said the items impounded included 17 vehicles with DPV of N39.19 million and 6,868 bags of 50kg of rice worth N179.51 million,
He also said that 180 bales of textile materials (printed wax) valued at N61.11 million and 198 pieces of imported used tyres worth N4.5 million.
According to him, the recent upsurge in smuggling of vehicles into the country was to avert payment of the current duty rate.
“This is criminally designed to sabotage and to frustrate the genuine efforts of the Federal Government in strengthening the automobile industries,” he said.
He recalled that the importation of frozen poultry and rice had been reduced to its barest minimum.
“That is the reason the smugglers have decided to go into full scale smuggling of automobiles to circumvent the intention of the government in strengthening the indigenous automobile industries,” he said.
Dimka attributed the effort of his men to increased morale and engagement of experts by the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Alhaji Abdullahi Inde Dikko.
He said the experts constructed a benefiting office complex with modern radio communication gadgets, while additional arms and ammunition were provided for the zone.