By Aisha Cole
Lagos – The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, Lagos, in December 2016, intercepted contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N893.87 million.
The Controller, Federal Operations Unit ‘A’, Comptroller Haruna Mamudu, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday in Lagos by the Public Relations Officer of the Unit, Mr Jerome Attah
Mamudu said that the unit through its interventions recovered N494.41 million from duty payments and demand notices on vehicles and other general goods that tried to beat the system from seaports, airports and border stations.
He said this was in the guise of false declaration, transfer of value and short-change in duty payment that were meant for the Federal Government, “making a cumulative N1.38 billion’’.
“This huge recovery in the history of the unit just in one month was attributed to the leadership by example and motivation the comptroller gave to the officers and men of the unit when he assumed duty.
“There are also some appreciable compliance levels by some patriotic Nigerians who voluntarily paid appropriate duties on their goods and vehicles before the deadline of the ban on vehicles through the land borders which was Jan. 1, 2017,’’ the controller said.
Mamudu commended the officers and men of the unit for living up to their statutory responsibilities in suppressing smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation toward sustaining best international standards.
The controller thanked the Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali, for his effort in appreciating hard work and diligence to duty and for always being there in giving helping hands when the need arises.
He said that the unit had arraigned two Chinese smugglers – Mr Shu Xiang Quan and Mr Wu Sheng He and one Nigerian Mr Ugochukwu Frank, before Justice Mohammed Hassan of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos State.
Mamudu said that the three suspects were arraigned on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, on a four-count charge of storing and exporting prohibited items.
According to him, the suspects have been remanded in Ikoyi Prison, for trial as the case was adjourned to Jan. 5 and Jan. 23, 2017 respectively.
Mamudu said, “Badejogbin David, who led the legal team of the Nigeria Customs Service prayed that the court expedite the legal proceedings to serve as deterrent to others.’’
He said that part of the responsibilities of the Federal Operations Unit is to enforce different International Protocols and Conventions that have continued to increase the responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Service, most especially in area of trade facilitation.
Mamudu said that the United Nations Charter on Preservation of Endangered Species entailed that “Customs Administrations globally protects wild life by intercepting illegal trade on such animals’’.
The controller said that the seized tusks and unprocessed animal scale would be handed over to the National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for further action.
He said the unit would not relent in its effort in intercepting all contraband from either going out or coming into the country.
Mamudu said that in Dec. 2016, 126 different seizures were recorded comprising raw hide/skin, elephant tusks, foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, smuggled vehicles, Indian hemp and various general merchandise.