Customs FOU “A” seizes contraband items worth N35.91bn in 31 months

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The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone A, says it seized 3,189 contraband items worth N35.91 billion in 31 months.

The outgoing Controller of the unit, Compt. Hussein Ejibunu, disclosed this at the unit office in Lagos on Friday, while recounting his overall activities as leader of the unit between Sept. 10, 2021 till date.

Ejibunu, who has just been transferred to the Customs Headquarters in Abuja, said further that 386 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures during the period.

He added that 22 people were convicted for committing different customs offences, within the 31 months.

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“Prominent among the seizures but not limited to the following are 222,285 X 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice (370 trailer loads); 1.14 million litres of premium motor spirit (33 tankers); 16,432.30kg of Indian Hemp.

“26,303 pieces of used pneumatic tyres;
11,175 bales of used clothes; 751x 70mm of live cartridges; 12,912 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products; 5,033 pieces of donkey skin.

“450 x 106kg drums of carbide; 233 cartons x 225mg of tramadol; 7,640 cartons of expired and unapproved drugs; 303 units of foreign used vehicles and 104 Haojue motorcycles.

“The Unit recovered the sum of N2.25 billion through the issuance of demand notices (D/N) due to transfer of value and wrong classification,” he said.

Ejibunu noted that the Unit worked both day and night to ensure that the successes they recorded were achieved.

He said unfortunately, while on legitimate duties within the zone’s area of operations, eight officers sustained different degrees of injuries while five lost their lives in the line of duty.

Ejibunu said his journey of leadership of the unit that commenced on Sept. 10, 2021 till date was a bit challenging but above all, very successful.

“A part of the challenges encountered when I assumed duty newly was the continued rate of suspected smugglers’ attacks on officers while on duty.

“To mitigate such levels of attacks, the unit embarked on sensitisation programmes and courtesy visits to traditional rulers of border communities which yielded a drastic reduction in the levels of deadly confrontations and attacks.

“Other successes recorded by the Unit under my watch include improved suppression of smuggling by making more seizures and arrest of suspects.

“These served as a deterrent to intending smugglers.

“We also recorded increased revenue recovery through meticulous documentary checks and issuance of demand notices on goods found to have been underpaid.

“Enhanced trade facilitation by providing escorts for goods on fast track for compliant traders,” he said.

The outgoing officer expressed his appreciation to the customs management under the leadership of Comptroller-General Bashir Adeniyi, for giving him opportunity to serve as the head of the command.

He commended officers and men of the unit for their untiring support, dedication, gallantry and uncompromising posture in the fight against smuggling and revenue recovery.

Ejibunu also appreciated compliant traders, importers and agents for being patriotic and sincere in their declarations, and for being compliant with the extant Customs procedures.

He said he was also grateful to patriotic members of the public for providing useful and timely information that aided the success of some of their operations.

In his acceptance speech, the new Controller of the command, Compt. Kola Oladeji, appreciated the commitment of the outgoing comptroller, promising to try his best to keep the flag flying.

He urged media to extend the cooperation given to Ejibunu to him while he promised to operate an open-door policy.

“I served as a Customs Intelligence Officer in many commands such as Tincan Island, Apapa, at the headquarters in Abuja, Zamfara among other places.

“I am appealing to officers and men of this command not to mind my face as much as my mind because it is my intelligence and investigational background that have made me to be strict.

“I will work under the core mandate of the service which is to combat smuggling, generate revenue and facilitate legitimate trade, which will be fairly implemented.

“We have nothing to hide but in terms of intelligent contribution, we need everyone’s support,” Oladeji said.

The Deputy Comptroller in charge of Administration of Zone ‘A’, Judith Kanu, appreciated the outgoing comptroller for the exemplary leadership he had demonstrated during his tenure.

Kanu said that none of the staff was reported to the headquarters during his tenure, adding that he and his managing officers corrected their differences in  mature manner.

She pleaded with her colleagues to extend the support given to the past Comptroller to Oladeji to enable the Federal Government succeed in combating smuggling and facilitating legitimate trade. (NAN

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