Oluwaseyi Adegoke Adeyemo – Lagos
Reeling out the exploits of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service for the month of January 2022 at a press briefing held recently, Deputy Comptroller Ejibunu, the acting Controller of the Unit said that in just five weeks they had made seizures worth N4,590,312,335 (duty paid value) and recovered N192,010,155.73 as revenue.
Giving a breakdown of the seizures made, Ejibunu listed them as the following items:
9,697 bags (50kg), 3,173 cartons (5kg) and 297 bags (25kg) of Foreign Parboiled Rice.
1,076 kegs (25litres) of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
195 bales of used clothes.
51 parcels (39.5KG) of Indian hemp.
68 sacks of used clothes.
2,535 pieces used tyres.
17 units of used vehicles.
206 used compressors, 7,557,400 tablets of 225mg Tramadol.
7 units used motorcycles.
21 bales of new bedsheets.
57 units of used plasma TV.
Ejibunu made it known that a total of 23 suspected smugglers were arrested out of which 5 were given administrative bail while 18 were remanded in the unit’s custody. However, Ejibunu disclosed that the unit, unfortunately, lost 4 customs officers in the course of their anti-smuggling activities last year.
He promised that the unit’s anti-smuggling and revenue recovery activities will increase this year due to the support and logistics upgrade it received from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Management and the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali. Condemning the murderous act of killing customs officers by smugglers and their sympathizers, Ejibunu said that the long arms of the law will not spare any perpetrator of such killing and that the unit will not be deterred in the performance of its duties to Nigeria.
He said: “While many travelled to enjoy the yuletide season, our operatives were out there in the field to prevent illicit items from being smuggled into the country. From 23rd December 2021 till date, a lot more has been seized thereby setting up the stage for today’s Press Briefing.
Despite the ups and downs, the Unit waxed on positively in the fight against smuggling as witnessed by you all. It is only regrettable that we lost 4 gallant officers in the line of duty last year”.
Sending a strong warning to smugglers through the press Ejibunu said: “If there is anything that the Unit will not condone, it is to lose any of its officers to smugglers this year. New approaches and tactics that we are holding strictly to our chest will be deployed this time around. Smugglers are hereby warned to stay away from smuggling”.
According to Ejibunu, the unit is well-armed with relevant Sections of Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004 as amended to aid the performance of its legitimate duties without fear or favour.
Some of such provisions are Section 158, which gives the unit the power to patrol freely; Section 11, which gives the power to arrest and prosecute anyone seen to obstruct officers from performing their duties; Section 46, which confers the power to seize; and Section 147, which empowers officers of the NCS to enter any premises without a search warrant and many more.
The Controller called on members of the public to lend their support to the NCS by providing it with credible intelligence that would lead to the arrest of smugglers and the prevention of prohibited goods from entering the country. Before the briefing came to a close, Ejibunu took reporters to the government warehouse and other areas where the seizures were kept for them to physically see the seized items.