In other to make smuggling activities uninteresting and make them also pay for every attempt to defraud government of Revenue, the Federal Operations Unit, Zone “A” of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) Ikeja, Lagos said that this year would be made unbearable for any illegal trades as it impounded various contraband items valued at over N1 billion in the month of February 2018.
While addressing some Journalists at the Units Conference Hall, Ikeja, Lagos, the Customs Units Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Garba Uba, hinted that the units made seizures of items include:18 Assorted vehicles, 4,201 bags of foreign parboiled rice (Laden in 7 trailers), 2,619 cartons of frozen foods, 1,105 Jerry cans of vegetable oil, 2,637, pieces of used tyres 1,333 bales of used clothing, 2,001kg of pangolin, 343kg of elephant tusks among others.
The Comptroller Uba said the 18 vehicles were intercepted along Ijebu Ode Expressway, a car mart in Lekki, which was discovered to house, one Rolls Royce, one Chrysler, one Audi Q7, one Land Rover HSE, one Toyota Venza, one Ford Taurus, one Honda Cross tour, four Mercedes Benz, three Kia Rio and one Escalade; all of which are 2008 and 2015 model respectively.
According to the Controller, the value of the vehicles is estimated to be N303million and the value of the foreign parboiled rice is N1billion. Therefore, 55 sacks of Pangolin Shells of 200kg is valued at N408million amongst which are, 218 pieces of Elephant tusks of 343kg, valued at N85 million were intercepted in an apartment in Ikeja, Lagos through an intelligence information by one of the Crack Squad of the Unit.
He however, explained that “a 1×20” container with No .CAIU0961053 was seized for false declaration which is tantamount to seizure. He further said that 17 suspects were arrested in connection with these 90 seizures including a Chinese National, Mr. Kio Sin Ying.
Comptroller Uba said, “within the period under review, we have recovered N68million from Demand Notices raised on goods intercepted in attempting to beat the system through transfer of value and under declaration, adding that the responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Service have undoubtedly increased tremendously overtime because of the implementation of different International Protocols and Conventions.
He maintained that the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES 1973) entails that Customs Administration globally protects wild life by intercepting illegal trade on such animals.
“It further prevents the killings of endangered species since the tusks are only available after the killing of an elephant and pangolin. In the spirit of inter-agency collaboration, the seized pangolin and tusks have been handed over to the Nigeria Environment Standard and Regulatory Enforcement Agency, NESREA, for further investigation in collaboration towards protecting our national habitat,” he said.