In July, the Nigeria Customs Service’s Federal Operations Unit Zone A seized 34,725 litres of Petroleum Motor Spirit, 7,261 bags of 50kg imported parboiled rice, and 12 trucks loaded with additional contraband totaling N537 million.
Hussein Ejibunu, the acting Customs Area Controller in charge of the unit, stated that the unit also seized 201 cartons of expired seasoning and 39 bales of worn garments during the time under consideration.
The litres of PMS were captured at the borders while being transported to the Benin Republic, he stated.
Ejibunu said, “You may recall that, some weeks ago, Nigerians had to pay more for PMS amidst scarcity. Even though the Federal Government had subsidised the product for local consumption, many Nigerians still passed through this hardship; partly because some unscrupulous citizens choose to satisfy their egoistic desires by smuggling the products into the Republic of Benin; some of which were along the border corridors.
“Notable among the seizures recorded within the period under review are I. 7,261 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice equivalent to 12 trucks load, 600 bags of basmati rice 5kg each, 34,725 litres of PMS, 39 bales of used clothes, 225 pieces of used tyres, 201 cartons of expired seasoning, 331 cartons of frozen poultry, six units of used imported cars, 2,634 cartons of slippers/shoes, 900 pairs of used shoes, 42 units of used motorcycles, amongst others.”
Ejibunu also said that the unit was able to arrest nine suspects in connection with the various seizures. He said, “Nine suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures. Seizures recorded had a cumulative DPV of N537m. Through meticulous checks on import documents, followed with the issuance of demand notices to importers/agents found to have short paid their duties; the sum of N24m was collected as revenue.”
Some of the intercepted goods, he said, were dangerous to health, adding that using hard-earned forex to import expired goods was a misplaced priority. He said, “This unit has intercepted some goods that are of health and safety concerns.” A misplaced priority, as demonstrated in the use of hard-earned forex for the importation of expired seasonings, used clothes, shoes, and tyres, is not only injurious to the economy.