Yuletide: Customs warn smugglers to stay clear of border post

As the countdown to the yuletide season begins, Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service, Assistant Comptroller General Victor Gbemudu has warned smugglers to stay clear of the nation’s border post.

Gbemudu who gave the warning while speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office in Lagos said that the zone has placed officers on red alert to ensure that smugglers do not take advantage of the yuletide season to bring in smuggled goods as level of importation is expected to increase.

According to him, the zone’s anti-smuggling arm, the Federal Operations Unit and commands within the border areas have been strengthened to improve on their anti-smuggling activities, one of the measures he said accounted for the seizures recorded by the unit in recent times.

“You can see some of the seizures of rice we have been recording at FOU, Oyo, Idiroko, Seme and Western Marine command. That is to tell you that we are very vigilant and we would be more on alert as we approach the yuletide season. We have strengthened our anti-smuggling activities especially around the border areas,” he said.

Speaking on the zone’s revenue performance, the Customs boss expressed hope that with increased volume of importation in the last quarter of the year, commands within the zone will achieve their target.

“75 per cent of the entire revenue is expected from this zone. So with that, we can’t afford to sleep. That is why every month, I meet with the Area Controllers, to gear them up and reiterate some of the policies of the Comptroller-General for us,”

“Again, these are ember months. From statistics we see that there is more inflow of imported goods at this last quarter of the year. Goods are coming in for Christmas and the New Year so we expect increase in cargo throughput into the country. With that, we will smile to the banks in terms of revenue collection. That is what I hope and I know we are going to achieve that,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday said it had impounded 60 bags of rice, eight bales of used clothes and 16 cartons of condensed milk in Badagry, Lagos State.

The Controller of the command, Johnson Gabriel, said in Lagos that the seizure was made at Badagry waterside on Oct. 2.
Gabriel said the goods, worth N901,138, were intercepted by men of the command.
He said the command was prepared to frustrate smuggling, irrespective of the quantity of goods involved.

“The mandate of the command is to ensure that smuggling is curtailed completely; we are not looking at the quantity of goods involved so long as  they are smuggled items. We know the tricks used by smugglers; they smuggle goods in small quantities to make it look insignificant,” he said.

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