The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone ‘C’ in Owerri, has said that it recorded 200 seizures of contraband goods worth N1.88 billion in 2013.
The Controller of the zone, Victor Dimka, announced the figures while addressing newsmen in Owerri on Monday, saying the zone made 56 seizures with duty paid value of N1.05 billion in 2012.
He explained that 31 arrests were made between January and December 2013, with17 cases still in court.
Dimka, who promised hard times for smugglers in the year, reaffirmed the preparedness and determination of the service to tackle the problem of smuggling in the area.
He noted that a formidable mechanism had been put in place to ensure that smugglers and those with the intent to indulge in the act were trapped and made to face the full weight of the law.
A breakdown of the seizures in the period under review showed that 2,801 bales of second-hand clothing worth N529.5 million, the highest so far in the zone, were seized.
This is followed by 114 vehicles valued at N355. 3 million and 609 bales of printed wax worth N269. 8 million.
Others seizures include 18,594 cartons of imported poultry products valued at N208.3 million and 3,619 cartons of vegetable oil valued at N97.78 million.
It also included 115,732 pairs of imported footwear with value of N155.9 million and 1,611 pieces of used tyres valued at N17.78 million, among others.
Dimka regretted the attitude of smugglers whom he said kept changing their tactics, describing it as a major challenge confronting his officers.
He reassured the public that the officials were competent to neutralise the smugglers’ antics.
Dimka commended members of the public for “patriotically cooperating with the officers of Nigeria Customs Service Zone ‘C’ in respect to supplying useful information on the activities of the smugglers”.
He urged the public to sustain the spirit to reduce smuggling in the zone to the lowest level for the betterment of the nation and its citizens.