The Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Border Area Command, Wednesday, said it had intercepted contraband with duty paid value of N409, 851,533 since the reopening of the border.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Bello Jibo, disclosed this at a news conference at ECOWAS Joint Border Post, Seme-Krake.
He said that the banned substances, smuggled into Nigeria through the border, included 232 wraps of cannabis sativa, 98 used vehicles, 5,568 bags of rice and two sacks of condom.
Jibo said that the contraband were smuggled in within the period from Dec.17th, when the Federal Government announced the reopening of four land borders to date.
He said that officers of the command had taken full advantage of renewed strategies to intensify the fight against smuggling.
“This has led to remarkable interception of 705 items, the duty paid value of the seized items is N409, 851,533 only.
“The breakdown of the seized items is, 5,568 bags of 50kg foreign rice, 3,208 Jerry cans of petrol, 98 used vehicles, 294 cartons of frozen poultry products and 232 parcels of cannabis sativa.
“Others are 798 cartons of tomato paste, three cartons of sugar, six cartons of slippers, 305 pairs of used shoes, 30 cartons of Nescafe, and 19 cartons of non-alcoholic wine.
“We also seized 10 cartons of cigarettes, 12 cartons of herbal soap and two sacks of condoms,” he said.
The Comptroller said that the achievement was an indication that men and officers of the command are not losing its guard in detecting and stemming the tide of nefarious activities perpetrated by daredevil smugglers.
He said that with the reopening of land borders, the command had harnessed all revenue components in line with the new operational guidelines.
The controllers disclosed that the command had recorded trade volume of 348,827,775 metric tons of exported goods with Free on Board (FOB) value of N4, 277,047,153 only.
According to Jibo, the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme value stood at N21, 384,443.
“The overall revenue remitted into the Federation accounts is N80, 774,807 during the period under review, while the grand total for both seizure and revenue is N490, 626,431 only,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Controller handed over the 232 parcels of cannabis sativa to the officials of Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Seme.
Shortly before handing over the cannabis, Jibo said it was intercepted along the beach area of the border.
He disclosed that the smugglers were using speed boats to convey the drugs into the country through the waterways when they were intercepted.
Jibo said the command would ensure that they get rid of drugs coming illegally into the country.
Commenting shortly after the handover of the cannabis, Mr Essein Udotong, the Commander, NDLEA, Seme Command, said the country would overcome its security challenges if security operatives cooperate with one another.
He hailed the operatives of the Seme Customs Area command for intercepting the substance.
The commander said the drugs had the ability to cause much damage to smokers if not seized.
Udotong said that the agency would carry out further investigation to find out those involved in smuggling cannabis into the country.
“The cannabis has been handed over to us and we will look for the owners; the present NDLEA has what it takes to arrest the people behind the illicit drug,” he said.
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“On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely.”
He appreciated how they traveled from afar to inform the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started yielding positive results in suppressing the menace of smuggling.
The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.
The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.
He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through a technological approach.
He underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.
On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”
According to him, they decided to visit the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.
He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.
UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.
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