Lagos - The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ikeja, said on Wednesday that it impounded 393 assorted contraband goods estimated at N80.8 million in August.
Mr Uche Ejesieme, the Public Relations Officer of the unit, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
According to him, that the seizures were more than the 331 recorded in the same period in 2011.
He also said that 256 seizures were recorded in July.
``The Federal Operations Unit Zone `A’ is statutorily vested with the responsibilities of suppressing smuggling in all ramifications. We also provide security to the commands under the zone.
``For August this year, we`ve recorded a total number of 393 seizures of various contraband goods, including vehicles.
``And the value of the seizures is put at N67,627,810 and the payable duty is N13,207,624 and the duty paid value stand at N80,845,434 with a total number of 34 suspects and most of the suspects have been charged to court and some of the cases are pending at the Federal high court.’’
Ejesieme said that the Area Controller, Mr Dan Ugo, had been trying to reduce smuggling activities based on the directives of the Comptroller-General of Customs.
``Don’t forget that the smugglers, sometimes tend to be ahead of you in terms of planning because they also have their own information. But what we do is to be two steps or three steps ahead of them.
``That is why, on our part, we’ve strived to deploy further strategies in ensuring that we track some of these smugglers and part of the strategies is the use of intelligent network because the controller is an expert in risk management and risk planning and cargo selectivity.
``He is also an expert in post-clearance audit and also an expert in corporate governance.
``So all these has given us a kind of comprehensive advantage and that is why I believe the CGC and his management decided to send a square peg in a square hole in ensuring that these assignments are carried out.’’
He said that the unit was determined to ensure that the incident of smuggling was reduced to bare minimum.
``We are also particular about poultry products because you will also recall that with reference to the circular that came from the CGC and management for the effect that we should ensure zero tolerance for importation of poultry products.
``In the past months, we’ve arrested and destroyed about 5,000 cartoons of assorted poultry products and this is in line with the expectations of the service.
``And we are also doing it because we need to protect our local industries and we also need to ensure that we create jobs and we also need to educate Nigerians on health implication of some of these things.”
He urged Nigerians to stop smuggling the poultry products due to the health implication on the consumers.