Steve Agbota

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted various contrabands with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth N5.1 billion, even as the Unit Comptroller rejected N50 million bribe to clear  a container of tramadol worth N808 million.

The seizures, recorded from the last August 17 to December 10, 2018 included 58 vehicles (comprising 34 exotic brands still under detention and 24 others already seized, as well as 39,664 bags (66 trailers) of 50kg foreign parboiled rice.

Also, seized items were 3,252 cartons of frozen poultry products, 2,887 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 3,792 parcels of Indian hemp, 5x20ft containers of unprocessed wood, 2,520 bales of used clothing, 710 cartons of tramadol, and 17 sacks (510kg) of pangolin scales, among others.

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While showcasing the seizures to newsmen yesterday at a press briefing in Lagos, the Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Comptroller, Muhammed Aliyu, restated the unit’s determination to succeed at all cost as the nation’s second layer of defence, insisting that the unit would aggressively pursue the enforcement of the Federal Government’s policy on self-sufficiency in food production.

He added that the unit would not relent in its pursuit of revamping the economic recovery plan, protecting national security and ameliorating the potential health hazards of the negative impact of smuggled items to the average Nigerian citizen.

However, he lamented the dire consequences of illicit substance intercepted by officers and men of the NCS, apart from the series of the successive tramadol seizures made at different ports in recent times.

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According to him, the 3,792kg of Indian hemp worth N379.2 million from Ghana was the biggest seizure made in the history of FOU Zone A.

He said no one knows the potential victims that may use the dangerous substance as it could be any member of the Nigerian family.

He stated that, “the greatest new year gift the NCS (FOU Zone ‘A’) is offering Nigerians is the modest contribution of sacrifice that officers and men go through to combat the menace of these illicit substances.”

He said fighting the menace of drug abuse is fighting the future of Nigeria’s endangered youths and any ‘would-be’ user of these illicit substance.

He explained: “As an enforcement Unit of the Service, the Federal Operations Unit will not rest on its oars until there is a total compliance that will translation to effective revenue generation, suppression of smuggling, facilitation of legitimate trade and protecting our national security. We are determined to stem the tide against those who have decided to be non-conformist to legitimate process of importation and exportation clearance processes.”

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He maintained that the drive and desire to compliment the Comptroller General’s Policy of entrenching transparency and integrity while enforcing the core mandate of the Service is the determining factor for his uncompromising stand to succeed at all cost.

He reaffirmed as a Unit that require and ensure total compliance to all clearance procedure and extant laws from stakeholders, the non compliance of stakeholders who chose to negate and abuse these procedures will always fall victims of FOU sanctions that have zero tolerance to deliberate infraction.