No Hiding Place For Fraudulent Importers

Hameed Ali, CG Customs: Providing Support

By Stephen Ubanna

Mohammed Garba, Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A Ikeja, Lagos,, is a happy man. Garba source of happiness is informed by the superlative performance  of the Command’s roving , Surveillance and Crack teams  T.The roving team is headed by Abdullahi Kerewa, an Assistant Comptroller while the Surveillance team is headed by Okbabi Jack, a Chief Superintendent . The third is the Crack team , which is headed by Adahunsi. R., an Assistant Comptroller.

Garba disclosed that after a series of meeting with his field officers  and reviewing the Command operational strategies  to meet with the current trend  of smuggling , the Command had intercepted various goods.

He noted that through the” dilligence of the officers   various methods of Concealment of goods  used by smugglers who used had been foiled. He gave an instance of the recent interception of 1, 442 cartons of tramadol drug.

The drug , he said was intercepted along the Oshodi-Apapa and Ijebu Ode Expressways. He In a voice laden with emotion, he asked, ”what would have happened  if these drugs  get to the wrong hands”.

Given the seriousness of the matter, Kingsley Ejiofor, a Director, who represented the Agency Director General, National Administration, Food and Drug Control, NAFDAC, was at the Command warehouse on Wednesday , July 12, 2017,  to see the drugs on the invitation of Garba. The drugs were said to have been imported from India withou tpermit from the relevant authority from India.”In the spirit of synergy of inter agency relationship, the drugs will be handed over to NAFDAC, for further investigation”, he said. This is not the first time that the Customs had hand handed over seized drugs to the agency. That much was said by Ejiofor.

He recalled that some years ago, the Customs Confiscated seven Containers of drugs , which were handed over to the Agency. It is not surprising why past and present Comptrollers of FOU, Zone  are always in regular touch with the Director General of

NAFDAC.

More worrisome was the seizure of a truck  allegely belonging to thebusiness mongol ,Aliko Dangote which was used to smuggle 1,200 cartons of poitry products along the  Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. It is obvious that the poultry products would be destroyed going by the pronouncement of the Comptroller. Another intercepted ”40” Container carried 400 bales  of second hand clothing , which was said to had bee imported from the Asian country of China.

An angry Garba disclosed that ”following series of  infraction on some of the Containers intercepted  based on information, the Command had seized  seven Containers  that contravened  Customs law by means of false declaration and breach of import prohibition  list by trade.

According to him , three of the seized Containers carried 5,014 , pieces  of used tyres, used double electric burner,  while the other Containers carried  499 cartons of Eva soap as against poultry incubator  declared in the SGD Form. The Container carrying the 400 bales of cloth was also seized.

The FOU, Zone A, Customs boss , confirmed that ”false declaration  falls under section 46, of Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, , which amount to outright seizure.

While Garba, was busy addressing the media on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, more Containers suspected to have contravened government policy were brought to the mechanical workshop , where most of the impounded Containers are kept, it is boldly written ”just arrived”. The Customs said the Containers would be re-examined and the genuine ones released.

Given an insider information on the activities of the Command in the last two weeks,, Garba disclosed that after series of meeting with his field officers  and reviewing their operational strategies  to meet up with the current trend of smuggling, the Command intercepted various Contraband with Duty Paid Value  of about N201 million, from June 13, 2017 to July 10. 2017.

An elated Garba, disclosed that the Command also recovered about N29 million  from duty payments  and Demand Notices on general goods  that tried to outsmart Customs officers  at the ports, airports and land border stations through wrong classification, transfer of value and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the government. The recovered money should gladden the heart of officials of the Revenue who had not allowed any kobo of the government to get lost by given the appropriate Demand Notice and penalty to importers found guilty.

He said the Command could not have made the appreciable effort without the support of Hameed Ali, a rtd Colonel and Comptroller General  of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS.

Appealing to the general public, Garba pleaded  for information  that would assist the Service  bringing smugglers to their knees.

It would be recalled that last month, the FOU, Zone A , Customs boss showcased the seizure made by the Command. It had seized five Containers, with one of the Containers allegedly carrying semi-processed wood for export to China.

Many believe that with the rate at which Garba and his men are making seizures and recovering money for the government, he may likely go the way of his predecessor, Haruna, who was promoted an Assistant Comptroller General by Ali in appreciation of the arms seizure by the Coommand.

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