As the yuletide season approaches, the Ogun Area command of the Nigeria Customs Service has warned smugglers who see the season as a period to carry out their nefarious activities to desist from such illegal business as the command has devised other strategies that will make them count their losses.
Controller of the command, Comptroller Sani Madugu who gave the warning while addressing newsmen at Idiroko on Tuesday said part of the measures put in place by the command has yielded result as it impounded goods worth N48 million in one week.
“Christmas is a period of celebration for everybody and for Customs officers. But for those who are willing to smuggle within that period, customs will not go on leave. Every day we would be working because we now work on shifts.
“We are going to strategise ourselves more for the Christmas period and not to give smugglers a breathing space for them to utilize the festive period for their nefarious activities,” he said.
The items seized include seven fairly used cars including a Hilux Toyota highlander 2015 model and Mercedes C300 2015 model, five vehicles carrying various prohibited goods, 42 kegs of vegetable oil, 300 bags of rice and 20 bags of sugar among others.
He said the smugglers of the vehicles took to their heels and ran into the bush on sighting the officers.
He said “Somebody brought in these vehicles with high amount of money and then refuse to take it through the seaport and pay duty. You buy it in America and ship it through Cotonue for you to come and beat customs from payment of duty. But God on our side, we have seized it. We have seized all this items and they have been forfeited to the federal government. The war against smuggling is a total one in Ogun command.
“Rice and groundnut oil is a daily seizure. We seize tokunbo cars on a daily basis and we are not tired of seizing it. We will continue to seize the vehicles, rice and every other prohibited and non prohibited goods brought in through unapproved route by those who are dodging the payment of duty on the dutiable items, we will continue to seize it, we are not going to relent in our effort,” he said.
The Customs boss explained that items like cars, rice are prohibited from coming through the land border but they are not absolute prohibition as they can be imported through the seaports and pay their duty.
He expressed delight in the successes recorded by the command in the past one week which he attributed to the commitment of officers even as he assured that the command under his watch will redouble its effort in the fight against smuggling.
He advised genuine businessmen to come forward and pay duty on their goods at the designated border entry point of the command just as he warned that smugglers and their collaborators who would not comply will have their goods seized.
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