Nigeria Customs Service destroys N13. 5 m smuggled poultry products in Seme

Officials of the Port Health Service, Agricultural Quarantine Service, Directorate of State Security (DSS) and National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Monday witnessed as the  Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Seme Command destroyed  smuggled poultry products with duty paid value of N13.5 million. 

The seized poultry products being destroyed

The poultry products comprising of 1,805 cartons, were in addition to bags of expired flour and used textile intercepted while being smuggled into the country from Benin Republic during the weekend of 24th January 2015.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer, Ernest Olottah, said, “We first poured caustic soda on the products before burial, to hasten decomposition and deter scavengers from digging them up for sale or consumption.”

He said there were also, presently in the government warehouse, recent seizures of sugar, paints, rice and other trade goods whose values were yet to be ascertained.

The operation came on the heels of a recent matching order of the Customs Area Comptroller (CAC) Ndalati Mohammed that all Patrol Units should intensify and widen the scope of anti-smuggling activities to bring deviants to order.  

The Controller also addressed field officers at various operational posts, especially at Gbaji and Owode where he declared that the fight against smuggling and other trans-border crimes must be total.

He also said that discipline was important while directing officers and men to translate the change process brought about by the capacity building effort of the Comptroller – General of Nigeria Customs Service (CGC) to manifest actions of politeness, decency and pursuance of the Service objectives. 

”We are all expected to justify the confidence the Comptroller General of Customs and his Management team reposed on us by putting our best in the interest of Nigeria.

“We must not live on the past glory of achievements recorded. I believe we can do more. We should double and redouble our revenue collection drive.

“Smugglers must be discouraged from the crime by our persistent arrests and seizures of their wares,” he charged the officers.

Meanwhile, the command collected a total of N9, 680,465,372.88 as revenue for the year 2014, which represents 9.12% increase over the N8, 482,231,829.91 revenue collected in the corresponding period in 2013.

In 2014 also, the Command made 686 seizures of various goods and vehicles with a duty paid value of N294, 326,677.00; arrested and arraigned a total of 18 suspects during the year 2014. 

The items impounded included motor vehicles, rice, frozen poultry products, petroleum products, shoes etc, accomplishing a feat which analysts said had direct bearings to the command’s anti-smuggling sensitization exercise at the grassroots.

Meanwhile, the CAC has boosted his grassroots contacts by  visiting and urging traditional rulers, chiefs and members of the border community to cooperate with the Customs in the fight against smuggling and other related vices as he noted that security issues, safety and general peace was everybody’s business.

At the palaces of the Alapa of Apa Kingdom, Oba Oyekan Ilufemiloye Poosi and Aholu of Kweme Kingdom,Oba Sejiro Olalekan James,  the CAC  thanked the monarchs for their past support to the Service and urged them to sustain it during his time.

He asked that the monarchs should see him as their own son, saying that, “As your son, I have come to see my fathers at home to solicit fatherly blessings and support. Considering the way I was received in the palace, I really feel at home and this gives me further assurances of your support to the Customs.”

The monarchs, while promising to fully identify with the Customs Service in its duties of suppression of smuggling, collection of revenue for government and facilitating legitimate trade, also told the Controller that their palaces were opened to him and his officers any time of the day.

Oba Oyekan was indicated to have expressed satisfaction with the rapport his palace had enjoyed with the command while Oba Sejiro who described his domain as being blessed to host Seme Border Command remarkably, gave similar assurances.