Cross River - The Nigeria Customs Service Cross River/Calabar Free Trade Zone and AkwaIbom Area Command, has impounded three tankers carrying petroleum product worth N25 million.
Mr Hassan Mundu, the Area Controller, who disclosed this to newsmen in Calabar on Friday, said four suspects were arrested for the illegal bunkering.
He gave the number plates of vehicles impounded as XR611ABC Abuja, XZ866EPE Lagos and XA782KDG Borno.
Mundu said that the tankers were intercepted by the anti-smuggling patrol team of the area command in Akwa Ibom.
He said that the illegal product (Diesel) was loaded into the tankers from drums in wooden boats along the water creeks in Nambe village in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.
Mundu said that the tankers and the suspect would be handed over to the Anti-bunkering task force in Akwa Ibom for necessary action.
He said that the command made more than eight seizures of various contraband and prohibited goods in the area with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of about N20 .3 million from January to June.
According to him, the revenue profile of the area command has improved through the blocking of all possible areas of revenue leakages resulting from improper customs clearance procedures for goods in the Free Trade Zones at Calabar and Tinapa.
He said that compliance to procedures for carrying baggage at the NIWA jetty in Calabar had yielded tremendous results on the revenue collection of the area.
According to him, every goods that has to come into the state must be well documented to ensure accountability.
``When I just came on board, the new jetty was collecting only N400, 000 per month but we put measures in place and embarked on a revenue drive.
``I insisted that I must see the manifest and the shipping company must account for what the ship was carrying and when we sat down and work with that, our revenue jumped up.
``The new jetty brings about 3, 000 passengers every week, so it is a good place to check for revenue lapses and we have improved on that.’’
Mundu said that the total revenue collection from the Area Command from January to June 2012 was N994, 621, 752. 19.
``Before now, the average monthly revenue collection by customs from the free trade zone was between N2 .8 million and N2 .9 million, while N400, 000 to N480, 000 was the collection for NIWA jetty.’’
He, however, attributed the low level of business and vessels not bringing cargoes to Calabar port to hindrances caused by the poor topography of the port.
Mundu stressed the importance of dredging the Calabar port to allow large cargoes to bring in containers.
He advised those involved in illegal trade or importation to desist from coming to the command, as officers and men of the service would not compromise any illegal activity.
``We will continue to render our service to national security through the inter-agency cooperation and also to fight economic saboteurs,’’ Mundu said.