From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service in Ogun State have impounded a trailer load of prohibited popcorn maize imported from South Africa.
The command equally recorded seizures of contraband goods worth over N3.4billion in six months.
The Controller, Ogun Area 1 of the NCS, Comptroller Bamidele Makinde, who stated this while briefing newsmen on the half year scorecard of the command in Abeokuta, said the maize meant for popcorn production remains on the government list of prohibited items.
Speaking on the activities of the command in the first half of the year, Makinde said the command generated a total of N29,940,146.50 from import duties and auction sales of premium motor spirit seized from smugglers.
On the anti-smuggling activities, the Controller said the command recorded a spectacular seizure of 25,906 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kilogram each.
He said, if the seized quantity was allowed into the Nigerian market, it would be disastrous to the Federal Government’s policy on local rice production and the economy of the nation.
Other seizures recorded in the period under review included 1433 cartoons of frozen poultry products; 72 units of used vehicles; 20 units of motorcycles used as means of conveyance; 1,400 packets, 2,250 sachets of tramadol and 168 packets of codeine.
The list of prohibited items included 289 cartoons of tomato paste; 258 sacks and 661 wraps of cannabis sativa; 140 pieces of used tyres; 11,745 kegs of 25 litres of petrol which is equivalent to nine tanker loads; 343 cartoons of foreign wine; 34 bales, 113 sacks and 36 Ghana-Must-Go bags of second hand clothes; 64 sacks and 2,218 pairs of used footwear; 328 cartons, 320 sacks and 72 pairs of new footwear; 180 pieces of female hand bags; 375 bales, 925 pieces of textile and 900 pieces of matches.
Makinde said the cumulative duty paid value for the seizures amounted to N3,400,226,707.00.
While comparing the command performance under review with half year report of 2021, Makinde noted that there was a significant increase in revenue collection and value of seizure recorded.
“The revenue generated from January to June last year was N15,261,074.00 compared to this year’s revenue of N29,940,146.50. Similarly, the estimated duty paid value of items seized this year, which is N3,400,226,707.00 is higher than that of last year’s record, which was N834,765,273.00. This is about 400 per cent increase”, he stated.
The Controller, who lamented the upsurge in smuggling activities in the period under review, however, assured that his command would not renege in its efforts at dialogue, engaging and sensitising members of the public at the border communities, on the socio-economic implications of smuggling in the course of discharging their statutory functions of enforcing and facilitating genuine trade in the areas.