In a media briefing at the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ in Ikeja, Lagos, the Acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, disclosed a significant interception of approximately eight trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice on October 6, 2023. The move underscores the Nigerian government’s commitment to curbing smuggling activities and fortifying the nation’s agricultural sector.
Strategic Operations: The dedicated officers of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ executed a series of operations resulting in the interception and seizure of 7,029 50-kg bags of foreign parboiled rice. These actions were strategically carried out at various times and locations within the border corridors of the southern and western states.
Objective: The primary objective of these operations was twofold. Firstly, to discourage potential traders from engaging in smuggling activities Secondly, to inflict financial losses on active smugglers, thus sending a clear message about the consequences of such illicit practices.
Beyond Rice Seizures: The operations in September yielded additional remarkable results, including the interception of various goods:
35,100 liters of premium motor spirit (PMS)
1,100 liters of diesel
1 40-foot container carrying 360 bales of used clothes
1 40-foot container containing 150 cartons of ladies’ handbags, 50 bales of nickers, and other falsely declared items
1 20-foot container of unprocessed wood
106 cartons of foreign frozen poultry
55 pieces of used fridges
110 pieces of used compressors
148 cartons of foreign soap
121 cartons of expired hair oil
25 units of vehicles (Tokunbo)
Ongoing Investigations: Investigations into some of these seizures are ongoing, with fourteen suspects already apprehended in connection with various offenses. These include violating import/export guidelines, concealment, undervaluation, wrong classification, smuggling, and contravening policy directives.
Economic Impact: The cumulative duty paid value of the intercepted goods is an impressive one billion, seven hundred and fifty-five million, eighty thousand, eight hundred and ninety-eight naira (1,755,080,898). Additionally, the unit generated seventy-two million, eight hundred and seven thousand, twenty-five kobo (N72,807,025.11) in revenue through meticulous checks and the issuance of demand notices on consignments found to have paid lesser amounts than the appropriate customs duty.
Call for Compliance: Importers and licensed agents are urged to make sincere declarations, adhere to existing import and export guidelines, and avoid the risk of losing their investments. Compliance is not only a legal obligation but also a strategic choice that ensures the smooth and efficient flow of goods across Nigerian borders.
In conclusion, the Acting Comptroller-General expressed gratitude for the media’s attention and emphasized the collective responsibility of stakeholders in safeguarding the nation’s economy. The interception signifies a decisive step in the battle against smuggling, contributing to the welfare of Nigerian citizens and fortifying the agricultural sector.