Customs FOU ‘C’ intercepts 5,200 live ammunition
…Arrests three suspects connected to different smuggling activities
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service has announced the seizure of 5,200 live ammunition (cartridges of 30 GR 70 mm calibre) and various contraband with duty paid value(DPV) of over three hundred and seventy-eight million Naira (N378 million), between Nov. 23 and Dec. 27, 2020.
Public Relations Officer of the Unit, Jerry Attah, made this known in a statement on Thursday.
He said that the Unit, through its interventions also recovered over seven million, five hundred and fifty- seven thousand Naira only (N7, 557million) from demand notices on general goods that tried to cut corners from seaports.
He said the amount accrued from false declaration, transfer of value, and shortchange in duty payments meant for the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria, making a cumulative sum of over three hundred and eighty- six million Naira (N386 million) within the month under review, and making it a landslide in recent times.
According to Attah, the Controller of the Unit, Compt. Yusuf Lawal, while addressing newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, expressed concerns over the trends in arms and ammunition smuggling in recent times.
The Controller made reference to an interception in Lagos in 2017, in kwara in 2018 and recently in Kebi, and now, the interception of 5,200 live ammunition cartridges (30GR 70mm Calibre) on the 13th of December 2020, which were concealed with other goods and household items in a passenger vehicle, a Toyota Sienna with Reg No: DKA 237 DW, along Nwezenyi Ikom Road Cross River, based on credible and timely intelligence.
He was quoted as saying: “Only God knows what would have happened if these cartridges got to its destination unchecked, considering the fragile security of the nation: from armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry to insurgency.” He also stated that the seized ammunition fall under schedule 4 of the Common External Tariff, and its importation is absolutely prohibited.
Other seized items stated include 1,215 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg, each mostly concealed in bags of beans, maize and groundnut seeds, with the aim of deceiving the officers.
Also seized are 38 Jumbo bales of used clothing, 204 cartons of imported tomatoes and four used exotic vehicles including one new bulletproof Toyota Landcruiser 2019 model (without end-user certificate), two Toyota Hilux 2016 and 2015 respectively, one Mercedes Benz ML350 2015, and other controlled pharmaceutical products at various locations.
Three suspects were arrested in connection to these different seizures, Attah said.
The Comptroller mentioned management motivation and necessary logistics support as being helpful in the carrying out their duties, just as he commended the officers and men for their commitment to service.
He further charged his officers to be professional and diligent in performing their statutory responsibilities in the year 2021, saying: “We believe we have what it takes to do more in this new year of 2021. Consequently, Let me use this special privilege to call on the general public and you the members of the forth estate of the realm to join the Nigeria Customs Service in the advocacy campaign against the danger of smuggling to the Nation’s Economy.”
The Controller used the medium to warn that all economic saboteurs or would-be smugglers should desist from illegal businesses as the unit will not be tired of making them count their loses.