Customs Seizes N35.9bn Smuggled Goods As Compt Vows To Facilitate Legitimate Trade

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The newly deployed Customs Area Controller (CAC), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Compt. Kola Oladeji, over the weekend, said he will facilitate legitimate trade as helmsman of the unit.
He disclosed this immediately after taking over from Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, as the CAC of the unit.
But, the outgone controller, Compt. Ejibunu, said N35.9 billion contraband and 386 suspects were arrested between September 10th, 2021 to 19th April, 2024.
According to him, the unit has the mandate of revenue generation, anti-smuggling and facilitating legitimate trade.
“We have three mandates which are, anti -smuggling, revenue generation and facilitation of legitimate trade. We must pursue it and I must say that we are not here to facilitate illegal trade but genuine and legitimate trade,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Compt. Ejibunu recounted the strides made by the unit in combating smuggling and enhancing revenue collection, while also reflecting on the challenges and successes of his tenure.
Ejibunu stated that under his leadership, the unit recorded 3,189 seizures with a duty-paid value amounting to N35.9 billion and arrested 386 suspects involved in smuggling activities.
He highlighted major seizures during his tenure to include 222,285 bags of foreign parboiled rice, over 1.1 million liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), and significant quantities of prohibited substances such as Indian hemp and tramadol.
He added that the unit also made strides in trade facilitation, providing escorts for goods on fast tracks and recovering over N2.25 billion through meticulous documentation and demand notices.
Ejibunu further emphasised the unit’s collaborative efforts with community leaders to reduce attacks on officers, a measure that has seen a reduction in violent confrontations.
He acknowledged the sacrifices made by officers, with eight sustaining injuries and five losing their lives in the line of duty during his tenure.
Ejibunu also disclosed that the Unit recovered the sum of N2.25bn through the issuance of demand notices (D/N) due to transfer of value and wrong classification of cargoes.
He expressed gratitude to the management of the Nigeria Customs Service, under the leadership of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, adding that the Unit under his watch enjoyed the morale and logistics support that was needed to succeed.
“My appreciation also goes to the management, officers and men of this Unit for their untiring support, dedication, gallantry and uncompromising posture in the fight against smuggling and revenue recovery.
“You worked both day and night to ensure that the successes we recorded were achieved. Unfortunately, while on legitimate duties within Zone’s area of operations, eight officers sustained different degrees of injuries while five lost their lives in the line of duty; may their souls rest in peace through the mercy of God”.
Recalling his stay at the unit, he said: “My journey of leadership of the Unit that commenced on the 10th September, 2021 till date was a bit challenging but above all, very successful. A part of the challenges encountered when I assumed duty newly was the continued rate of suspected smugglers attacks on officers while on duty.
“To mitigate such levels of attacks, the Unit embarked on sensitisation programmes and courtesy visits to traditional rulers of border communities which yielded a drastic reduction in the levels of deadly confrontations and attacks.
“I cannot hurriedly forget the cooperation of most of the traditional rulers such as the Onipokia of Ipokia Kingdom, Ogun State; Oba Yisa Sola Adeniyi Adelakun Olaniyan (JP), the Alake of Egba Land, Ogun State; Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo III, and the Olu of Ilaro/Paramount Ruler of Yewa Land, Ogun State; His Royal Majesty, Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle, who visited the Unit twice to commiserate with the officers and men over the loss of some gallant men on duty.
“Other successes recorded by the Unit under my watch include; improved suppression of smuggling by making more seizures and the arrest of suspects served as a deterrent to intending smugglers. Increased revenue recovery through meticulous documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on goods found to have underpaid. Enhanced trade facilitation by providing escorts for goods on fast track for compliant traders.”


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