By Shulammite ‘Foyeku
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has seized 3,870 goods worth N11.2 billion Duty Paid Value (DPV) from January to November as against 5,602 goods worth N10.2 billion DPV seized same period in 2016.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Joseph Attah, told newsmen in Abuja that 2017 seizures were intelligence-driven.
Attah said the cause of increase in 2017 DPV, compared to that of the less number of seizures in 2016, was that the service seized more high profile cars and bullet-proof vehicles.
He said that in 2016, a number of reforms were introduced by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali, adding that the success recorded in 2017 was the fruit of those painstaking steps.
“Between January and November 2016, we recorded general seizures of 5,602 and within that period, 335 persons were arrested in connection with the seizures while some of them were granted bail.
“Some have their cases pending, while some cases were at advanced stages. In the same period of January to November this year, we recorded 3,870 seizures with 186 persons arrested in connection with the seizures.
“It is not only about statistics or about the number of seizures that were made but the type of items that were seized that determine the DPV.
“And this year, we recorded more of high profile seizures beyond the 2,671 pump action riffles that cannot be valued. These are highly prohibited items that cannot be sold or auctioned, so automatically, their value is not here.
“We have exotic cars, talking about bullet-proof cars, vehicles that their values are more than N300 million.
“The NCS believes that some financially strong smugglers took advantage of the porous nature of the borders and government policies to bring in valuable items like bullet-proof cars and hid them.
“Recently, our anti-smuggling operatives of the Federal Operation Unit, Zone A, stormed a place in Lagos and evacuated over 50 exotic cars.
He noted that the seizures made in 2017 were much more valuable, the type that impacted on the economy and more importantly, the type that would have negatively impacted on the security of lives and prosperity of Nigerians.
Attah said the positive part of the seizures was that the vehicles would be auctioned after passing through the judicial process and forfeited to the Federal Government.
“These vehicles will be auctioned and because they are high profile cars, they will attract high auction value and that will amount to some kind of recovering of revenue for the Federal Government,’’ he said.