The Federal Operations Unit, FOU of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS yesterday said the Unit impounded smuggled Premium Motors Spirit, PMS, foreign perboiled rice, used clothings, fairly used vehicles and other items with Duty Paid Value, DPV worth N537.4 million in the month of July. This is even as the Unit is currently struggling with space as the government warehouse has been filled to various seized items, some of which has been there for more than seven years. Customs Area Controller, CAC of the Unit, Hussein Ejibunu who disclosed this in Lagos, said the Unit also apprehended nine persons involved in the smuggling f the seized item.
He also pointed out that the Unit collected over N25 million through issuance of Demand Notices, D/N to importers and their agents found to have short paid their duties. Ejibunu listed the seized items to include 7,261 bags of 50 kilograms of foreign parboiled rice, equivalent to 12 trucks load, 600 bags of basmati rice, 34,725 liters of PMS, 39 bales of used clothes and 225 pieces of used tyres. Other items according to the Custom boss are, 201 cartons of expired seasoning (Chicken Cubes), 331 cartons of frozen poultry products, 6 units of used imported cars, 2,634 cartons of slippers/shoes, 900 pairs of used shoes, 42 units of used motorcycles, etc. According to him ” Let me use this medium to remind you that poultry products remain a prohibited item under the import prohibition list, because of its attending health and economic implications.
“It may interest you to know that the federal government in her wisdom banned the importation of poultry products so as to support the growth of our domestic poultry farms, and to protect them from foreign competition. Secondly, it was discovered that in the process of transporting these products, some hazardous chemicals are applied to help in preserving the products; since its frozen state of being cannot be sustained till it reaches the final consumers. This act calls for public concern as it could be a source of different ailments and diseases. Perhaps, there is no Nigerian family that has not been affected by either an accident caused by a substandard or used tyre, skin diseases or cancers, and many more; as a result of patronage to prohibited imported products into the country. While we collectively sympathise with those that are affected by this menace, we are also calling on patriotic citizens to cooperate with the Customs Service and other law enforcement agencies to stamp it out. You may recall that, some weeks ago, Nigerians had to pay more for PMS amidst scarcity.
“Despite the fact that the federal government had subsidised the product for local consumption. Many Nigerians still passed through this hardship; partly because some unscrupulous citizens choose to satisfy their egoistic desires by smuggling the products into the Republic of Benin; some of which were along the border corridors. From the forgoing, it is evident that, these dare devil smugglers are unrelenting in executing their unlawful and vile businesses. We are therefore, soliciting for useful and timely information from patriotic Nigerians to enable us tame smuggling. Compliant importers and agents are encouraged to sustain their compliance level, as the Unit and the Service remain resolute at facilitating legitimate trade,” he noted.