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Customs seize N1.3bn contraband

Customs seize N1.3bn contraband

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Anna Okon

The Nigeria Custom Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A said that it intercepted vehicles, foreign parboiled rice and poultry worth over N1.3bn in February.

The unit said it also recovered N68m from importers and clearing agents who under-declared their cargoes at the various seaports and airports across the country.

According to the Customs Area Controller of the unit, Mohammed Garuba, 17 suspects, one of them a Chinese, were arrested in connection with the smuggling.

He said, “We have been able to intercept various types of contraband with a duty paid value above N1.3bn in February.

“The seized items are 18 assorted vehicles, seven trailers of foreign parboiled rice, 2,619 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1,105 jerry cans of vegetable oil, 2,638 pieces of used tyres, 1,333 bales of used clothing, 2,001kg of pangolin and 343kg of elephant tusks, among others.”

He added that some of the vehicles were intercepted along the Ijebu Ode Expressway while others were evacuated from a car showroom in Lekki, Lagos.

“The detained vehicles include a Rolls Royce, one  Chrysler, Audi Q7, Land Rover HSE, Toyota Venza, Ford Taurus, Honda Crosstour, four units of Mercedes Benz, three units of Kia Rio, Escalade ranging from 2008 to 2015 models,” he said, adding that a 1/20ft container was seized for false declaration.

Garuba expressed worry over the frequent arrest of Chinese nationals for breaking Nigerian trade rules.

He said, “The arrest of Chinese nationals is taking a new dimension. They have been arrested two or three times now. We can make an arrangement with their association, if there is any, to inform them about our trading rules. They need to be enlightened about what to bring in and what not to bring into the country.

“When that is done or not done and they continue to infringe on our law, we will continue to arrest them.”

He said that the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES 1973) entailed that the Customs administration should globally protect wild life by intercepting illegal trade on such animals and preventing the killing of endangered species such as elephants and pangolin.

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