The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’ Owerri, Thursday announced a seizure of 5,200 live cartridges and other various contraband with a duty paid value (DPV) N378million
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The items were seized between November 23rd to December 27th 2020, according to a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Mr Jerry Attah.
The statement said that the Command also recovered N7,557,731.00 from demand notices on general goods whose owners were accused of trying to cut corners.
Accordign to the statement, the owners were accused of false declaration, discrepances in transfer of value and shortchanging government in duty payment.
The Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal Psc(+) while addressing newsmen in Owerri, Imo State Capital expressed concerns over the trends in arms and ammunition smuggling in recent times.
Lawal made reference to the interception in Lagos in 2017, in kwara in 2018 and just recently in Kebi using different routes and now the interception of the 5,200 live ammunition cartridges on the 13th of December 2020.
He said the items were concealed with other goods and household items in a passenger vehicle: Toyota Sienna with reg no: DKA 237 DW along Nwezenyi Ikom Road Cross River, following intelligence information.
He added “Only God knows what would have happened if these cartridges get to its destination unchecked, considering the fragile security of the Nation: from Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, banditry to insurgency”. Comptroller Yusuf stated that the seized ammunitions fall under schedule 4 of the Common External Tariff, which its importation is absolutely prohibited.
Among the items seized include 1,215 bags of foreign parboiled rice 50kg which were concealed in bags of beans, maize and groundnut seeds in order to deceive
Law enforcement officers.
Others were 38 Jumbo bales of used clothing, 204 cartons of imported tomatoes and four used exotic vehicles, including one new bullet proof Toyota Landcruiser 2019 model (without end-user certificate), two Toyota Hilux 2016 and 2015 respectively, one Mercedes Benz ML350 2015, and other controlled pharmaceutical products at various locations.
The statement said that three suspects were arrested in connection to these different seizures.
The Comptroller attributed the achievement to the leadership style of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and the entire management team of the Nigeria Customs Service for their efforts in recognizing hard work, dedication and commitment.
According to him, “Without the Management motivation and necessary logistics support, we won’t have attained this feat within this short period”.