Barth Ndubuwah,Port Harcourt
A total of eighty nine billion, seven hundred and fifty four million, eight hundred and seventy eight thousand, two hundred and sixty four Naira, eighteen Kobo(89,754,878,264.18) worth contraband has been impounded by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Area 2,Onne in Rivers State from January to October,2019.
This was disclosed by the Comptroller General of Customs,Col Hameed Ali(Rtd), while briefing the Press shortly after inspecting 87 seized containers used in smuggling the said contraband in Onne, Rivers State.
According to CGC, the partial closure of land borders in the country has made smugglers more desperate, hence the shifting of their illegal activities to the seaports.
“The ongoing partial closure of land borders across four geopolitical zones in the country has led to increased desperation by smugglers who are now diverting their activities to our seaports,” Col Ali said.
A breakdown of seizures show that the items cut across containers of tomatoes, roofing tiles,rice, machetes, vegetable oil and scrapped metals,among others.
The CGC emphasized the fact that the seizures were in line with the provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004, Sections 46 and 161.
The CGC assured the people that Nigeria Customs Service under his leadership “is determined to do all it takes to protect the well-being and safety of all citizens and residents by preventing the devastating effect of these hazardous importation and smuggled items,”he said. These items,he said endanger the lives of the people and so should not be allowed to find their ways into the market.
Col Ali reiterated the fact that NCS as responsible agency, Nigeria Customs Service will not disappoint the country in enforce compliance by maintaining zero tolerance to smuggling activities irrespective of whose ox is goared.
The CGC commended the officers of Area 2 Onne Command for a job well done. He urged them to sustain the tempo,with a view to surpassing the 2019 target.
The tour also took the CGC and his entourage to Area 1,Rivers Port,where he inspected some seizures worth billions of Naira.