The Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted various items, including vehicles and Indian hemp, with a Duty Paid Value of N1.61 billion.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Colonel Hameed Ali, disclosed this on Tuesday in Lagos.
Ali told newsmen that the unit intercepted eight Lexus Jeep LX 570, 2017 model; 13 Land Cruiser Jeeps of 2017 model; and 17 Toyota Hilux, between 2009 to 2016 models.
He said all the vehicles had a DPV of N1.37 billion.
He said that other seizures included 12,081 bags of rice, 75 bales of second hand clothes and 40 other vehicles.
Ali said: “The seizures also included 135 cartons of frozen products, 130 parcels of 116kg of Indian hemp, three used cars and 1,174 pieces of used tyres.”
He urged the public and the media to educate Nigerians on the dangers in consuming smuggled products.
According to him, wearing of second hand clothes is injurious to health as well as eating smuggled frozen foods.
He advised Nigerians to save the country from being import-dependent, saying that the citizens should patronise made-in-Nigeria products to support the economy.
Ali said the ban on importation of vehicles through land borders was still in force, adding that the service remained resolute in its determination to enforce its policies.
The Customs boss said that no responsible government would fold its hand while unpatriotic people continued to engage in illegal activities that would affect the nation’s economy and the security of its citizens.
He said: “The Nigeria Customs Service will continue to work toward ensuring compliance with all extant laws governing imports and exports in Nigeria.
“NCS will not hesitate to use appropriate force to deal with any threat that is intended to obstruct the performance of statutory functions.
“I am commending the Nigerian Army’s efforts in supporting Customs to achieve spectacular seizures and these seizures could not pass through the ports without the knowledge of some officers.”
Ali said investigation was ongoing on some suspected officers who were reported to be conniving with some clearing agents to engage in false declaration.
He said that hardly could one find 10 honest declarations out of 100.
The comptroller-general said some importers had ended up spending double money due to false declaration in clearing their containers at ports.
Ali said the issue of scanners was receiving the attention of the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in line with the directive on Ease of Doing Business.
The Customs Area Controller of Zone A, Comptroller Mohammad Garba, said some vehicles were intercepted along unapproved routes, while some were due to false declaration.
Garba said 17 suspects were connected with the seizures and that 11 suspects were released on bail while six were detained while investigation continued.