Lagos - The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone "A" of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it has intercepted 243 contraband valued at N83.2 million in July 2013.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the command, Uche Ejesieme, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.
Ejesieme recalled that the command had also intercepted 267 contraband valued at N107 million in the corresponding period of 2012.
He said the seizures were made possible by the efforts of Isa Nuhu, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command.
He said that the controller had also introduced mass enlightenment of the public on the dangers of smuggling.
For last year, we had 267 and now the same period we are having 243.
The Federal Operations Unit, despite the challenges, has been working assiduously toward enforcing the fiscal policies of government in terms of trade, irrespective of the fact that we had a marginal difference in number of seizures.
"It’s just as a result of the fact that we are winning the war on smuggling.
"There is a strategy that we’ve just put in place and that is mass enlightenment.
"This mass enlightenment is targeted at sensitising and educating the people on the dangers of smuggling.
"We also engaging other critical stakeholders like the Customs Consultative Council, the freight forwarders, importers’ and their representatives to collaborate with us in the fight against smuggling."
Ejesieme said that in spite of the marching order given to the unit by Dikko Abdullahi, the Comptroller-General of Customs, the unit had intercepted many smuggled rice and poultry products.
"The Comptroller General of Customs gave a marching order sometimes March this year to the effect that there must be zero tolerance for the importation of poultry products and rice through the land borders.
"For the month of June alone, the unit recorded a total of 9 643 bags of 50kg parboiled rice brought in through unapproved routes and is valued at N48 215 000 with a Duty Paid Value of N53 036 500.
"We are also happy to report that for the same period, that’s June this year, we’ve recorded a total of 4 051 cartons of assorted imported frozen poultry products with a Duty Paid Value of N17 574 200.
"From these records, you can see very clearly that the unit is very alive to its responsibilities and we are not going to relent."
Ejesieme said that Wale Adeniyi, the National PRO of NCS had been engaging in continuous sensitisation programme against smuggling.
He said that the efforts of the customs management were aimed at reducing smuggling activities.
The PRO said that the service would not relent until smuggling activities were reduced to the barest minimum.