Customs seizes N1billion contraband, 18 vehicles
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Lagos, has seized various contrabands with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of about N1billion in February.
The Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’, Mohammed Garba, who paraded the items before journalists in Lagos, said the unit also recovered N67.9million from demand notices raised on goods intercepted, while attempting to beat the system through transfer of value and under declaration.
He listed the seized the items to include, 18 assorted vehicles; 4,201 bags of foreign parboiled rice (about seven trailers); 2,619 cartons of frozen poultry products; 1,105 jerry cans of vegetable oil; 2,637 pieces of used tyres; 1,333 bales of used clothing; 2,001kg of Pangolin; 343kg of Elephant tusks, and many others.
Noting that some of the vehicles were intercepted along the Ijebu Ode Expressway, Garba said others were evacuated from car marts located in Lekki area of Lagos.
The detained vehicles include; one Rolls Royce; one Chrystler; one Audi Q7; one Land Rover HSE; one Toyota Venza; one Ford Taurus; one Honda Cross Tour; four Mercedes Benz; three Kia Rio; and one Escalede, among others of various type ranging from 2008 to 2015 model.
He said the Unit had also raided an apartment at No 38, Ogundana Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, based on intelligence, where it evacuated 55 sacks of Pangolin Shells weighing 2001kg valued at N408.3million; 218 pieces of Elephant tusks weighing 343kg and valued at N85.1million.
He explained the need to seize such items, saying: “You will recall that the responsibilities of the Nigerian Customs Service have undoubtedly increased tremendously overtime because of the implementation of different International protocols and conventions.
“The Convention of International Trade in Endangered species (CITES 1973) entails that Customs Administration globally protects wild life by intercepting illegal trade on such animals. It further prevents killing of endangered species since the tusks are only available after the killing of the Elephant and Pangolin.
“In the spirit of the inter-agency collaboration, the seized Pangolin and tusks have been handed over to Nigeria Environment Standards and Regulatory Enforcement (NESREA) for further investigation,” he said.
Garuba added that: “For avoidance of doubt, our action is in line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management (CEMA ) Cap 45, laws of the Federation of Nigeria (power to search premises, and Section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45 (power to patrol freely).
He said 17 suspects, including a Chinese have been arrested in connection with the 90 seizures.