Owerri- The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted a vehicle with 5000 live cartridges along the Nwezenyi-Ikom Road, Cross River State.
Comptroller of the unit, Yusuf Lawal, while addressing newsmen yesterday in Owerri, Imo State, said the unit made the discovery on December 13, 2020, adding that the ammunition was concealed with other contrabands and household items in a Toyota Sienna vehicle marked: DKA 237 DW.
Lawal disclosed that the contrabands, with a duty paid value (DPV) of N378.7m, were seized between November 23, 2020, and December 27, 2020.
Customs Public Relations Officer (PRO), Jerry Attah, in a statement made the disclosure that the unit through its interventions recovered N7.5m from demand notices on general goods that were being diverted from the nation’s seaports.
“The goods were being conveyed under false declaration, transfer of value, and shortchanging in duty payment to Federal Government coffers, amounting to N386.3m in the month under review.”
Giving a summary of seizures and detentions from November 23 to December 27, 2020, Attah said the items comprised 1, 215 units of foreign parboiled rice valued at N36.4m, 5,200 cartridges worth N36.4m, four vehicles worth N221m and 38 jumbo bales of used clothes valued at N3m.
He added that the general merchandise included 204 cartons of foreign tomatoes, nine means of conveyance and four cartons of pharmaceutical products worth N115m, 1,215 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice each concealed in bags of beans, maize and groundnut seeds aimed at deceiving Customs officers.
Others are 38 Jumbo bales of used clothes, 204 cartons of imported tomatoes and four used exotic vehicles including one new bullet proof Toyota Landcruiser, two Toyota Hilux vans, a Mercedes Benz ML350 and other controlled pharmaceutical products at various locations.
He added that three suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.
Meanwhile, Lawal expressed concerns over smuggling of arms and ammunition in recent times, citing the seizures in Lagos in 2017, kwara in 2018 and Kebbi through different routes and interception of 5,200 (30GR 70mm calibre) live cartridges.
Maintaining that the ammunition fell under Schedule 4 of the Common External Tariff, which importation is absolutely prohibited, he wondered what would have happened if these cartridges get to its destination unchecked, considering the nation’s fragile security situation attributed the feat to the leadership style of Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali’s and the NCS Management Team for recognising hard work, dedication and commitment.