The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted a COVID-19 designated vehicle over alleged smuggling of frozen chicken into the country.
The unit also intercepted various items of contraband worth N12.7 billion between January and April 2020.The Public Relations Officer of the unit, Jerry Attah, who confirmed this yesterday, said the officers intercepted the vehicle under the guise of essential duty, yet smuggling cartons of frozen chicken into the country from Benin Republic.
Attah, who quoted the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the unit, Usman Yahaya, said the vehicle was arrested along Ijebu ode expressway He also disclosed that they were intercepted based on intelligence and the eagle eye officers, who were on routine patrol at the axis.
The CAC said: “The officers were professional enough to intercept the vehicle, which was believed to be used in the movement of essential commodities but was surprise to see that it was used for illegal activities such as movement of contraband.
“We have arrested the vehicle and investigation has commenced to get to the root and unravel other atrocities that may have been committed using the essential duty tag.”
However, speaking on the activities of the command in the last four months, the CAC said contraband worth N12.7 billion were intercepted from smugglers between January and April 2020.
According to him, the unit also paid a whopping N1.14 billion into the Treasury Single Account of the federal government from Debit Note (DN) on intercepted containers from Lagos seaport, voluntary payment of Customs duty on vehicles, auction sales from PMS among others.
Giving a break down in the seizures, he said 25 units of fairly-used vehicles worth N108 million, 5,644 cartons of frozen chicken worth N54.1 million were intercepted, 9,843 bags of 50kg smuggled parboiled rice worth N130.4 million and sacks of textile materials worth N94 million were seized in the month under review.
Others are: N14 million worth of used tyres, 3,764 kegs of smuggled vegetables oil worth N69.2 million, 8,365 litres of smuggled petrol also known as (PMS) and AGO also known as Diesel worth N35 million.
The Customs boss said: “We won’t relent in our anti-smuggling fight; especially at this time the government is preaching diversification into the agric sector due to the fall in price of oil in the international market that has affected government revenue base.
“So, we will ensure that smuggling is reduced to the nearest minimum and not allow to fester as that could be injurious to our economy and wellbeing as a country,” he said.