The Comptroller General of Customs Strike Force, Zone ‘A’ said it generated N1.1 billion through Debit Notes issued to importers that paid less Customs duties across the six area commands of the Service in the South West.
The Coordinator of the Strike Force, Assistant Comptroller Abba Kakudi, said in a statement that the amount was realised from January 1 to June 11.
He said the team was able to realise the sum in spite of COVID-19 pandemic, which affected movement of goods.
Kakudi added that the team’s operation in the fight against smuggling led to seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N36.5million in the last two weeks.
He listed the seized items to include: 1,000 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice with the Duty Payment Value (DPV) N13.2 million, 10 tokunbo vehicles worth N31 million and 30 bales of second hand clothing with DPV of N2.160 million.
“In the last two weeks, we have given a hard chase to smugglers who were desperate to unleash economic dislocation in the country and our efforts have continued to yield results with the renewed vigour of our men.
“It is important to say that in order to help the economy to grow, there is no need to import what we can produce here in Nigeria or bringing in prohibited items.
“It is worthy to note that the Federal Government has encouraged a lot of rice farmers in the country where local rice is being produced in large quantities and even healthier than foreign rice. Traders should, therefore, avail themselves of this opportunity to market our indigenous products in such a way, as to grow the economy maximally.
Kakudu said in a bid to police the smugglers from bringing in prohibited products, the team faced a lot of dangers as most of the smugglers are sometimes armed with matches, charms and other dangerous weapons.
He, however, assured that the team would not relent in the onerous task of reducing smuggling to the barest minimum.
“This ugly situation is experienced more around the creaks where inhabitants mobilise some under aged people against us, to the extent of calling us names as well as some stoning us, all in a bid to make/secure seizures,” he said.
He appealed to those who believe that smuggling is very lucrative to desist from it as the task force are always a step above them in their plots and strategies.
Kakudu said a lot of incentives have been provided by the Federal Government to revamp the nation’s economy and it should be allowed to have the desired effect.
“A smuggler is an economic saboteur and such trade cannot be the best means of livelihood due to inherent dangers as well as losses to those behind it. Above all, smuggling ruins the economy of any nation,” he said.
While warning importers and agents against aiding and abetting in the smuggling business, he commended the Comptroller General of the Customs, for providing the required logistics without which he said his men would not be able to record the feat.