Funmi Olaitan, Ibadan
Customs Area Controller in charge of Niger/Kwara/Kogi Area Command, Mr. Yusuf Abba Kassim, has reiterated the determination of the leadership of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), to make the country too hot for smugglers, warning them to steer clear of the command as it is more than ready to police its areas of operation.
The Customs boss while addressing journalists at headquarters of the command in Minna, Niger State capital, said the command in October seized no fewer than nine hundred and thirty four (934) 50kg bags of imported rice suspected to have been smuggled through land borders in the three states of Niger, Kwara and Kogi.
He added that the command also intercepted twelve (12) bales of second hand clothing, one used Volkswagen Golf, one used Toyota Camry, one used Toyota Avencis, one used Toyota Rav4, and one trailer (Howo) Eighteen (18) Tire Truck loaded with bags of imported rice and sugar.
He said, "These strategic seizures were made in October alone: nine hundred and thirty four (934) 50kg gags of imported Rice suspected to have come in through the land border with a duty paid value of one hundred and sixty million, sixty six thousand seven hundred naira (N160,066,700).
"Twelve (12) Bales of second Hand clothing with duty paid value of Four Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand Naira (N432, 000).
"One used Volkswagen Golf with duty paid value of One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira (N180,000).
"One use Toyota Camry with duty Paid value of Three Million five Hundred and Seventy Seven Thousand Five Hundred Naira (N3,577,500).
"One used Toyota Avencis (black colour) 1998 model. One Used Toyota Rav4 (red colour) 2017 Model. One trailer (Howo) Eighteen (18) Tire Truck Loaded with Bags of imported foreign Rice and Sugar.
"I assumed duties here in the Command on Monday 13th August, 2018 determined to build on the successes of my predecessors both in revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities. As we all know, Nigeria Customs Service is very strategic in the sustenance of the Nation’s economy.
"I recognize the critical role the media can play especially in the area of sensitization and enlightenment to all our stakeholders and the society at large. This is why I have called this briefing to partner with the media in order to achieve willful compliance from the public as well as to showcase what the Command is doing.
"I took it as my first point of duty to visit all the head of sisters agencies, traditional rulers and Customs formation within the Command to recognize them, strengthen existing cordial relationship between the Command and critical stakeholders, as well as to solicit for greater cooperation in terms of information gathering and dissemination. The results of the action coupled with the Command’s renewed vigour in utilization of cutting edge strategies in our anti-smuggling war.
Kassim while speaking further, said the command generated seven hundred and ninety one million two hundred and forty thousand four hundred eleven naira seventy seven kobo (N791,240,411. 77) between August and November.
He said, "On the other hand, Niger/Kwara/Kogi Command has generated a total of Seven Hundred and Ninety One Million Two Hundred and Forty Thousand Four Hundred Eleven Naira Seventy Seven Kobo (N 791, 240, 411. 77) from August, 2018 when I assumed office to date. This period last year 2017, the Command generated N316, 517, 521. 96 (August to October, 2017), which shows an increase of N474,722,899. 81.
"Relatively, a total of twenty three (23) seizures with the duty paid value of thirty seven million, nine hundred and eleven thousand; seven hundred and seven naira only (N37,911,707.00) has been made under my leadership. While same period last year (August to October, 2017) the Command had a total of twenty five (25) seizures with a duty paid value of fifty one million, one hundred and seventeen thousand, six hundred and four naira (N51,117,604.00).