Area Controller, Oyo/Osun Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr. Zulkifil Abdullahi, has said the command in its anti-smuggling drive generated over N23 billion between January and July, surpassing what the command generated within the same period in 2018.
Abdullahi, who made the disclosure while addressing journalists at the command's headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, added that the command arrested no fewer than 35 suspected smugglers in connection with smuggling of some prohibited items into the country.
He said the command recorded 7,951 seizures with the total duty paid value of over N210 million within the same period, stating that five of the suspects arrested have been charged to court with the remaining 30 out on administrative bail.
He said, "The Command has generated the sum of N23,878, 395, 911.8k from January -July 2019, surpassing what was collected for the year 2018. The Command recorded 7,951 seizures from January to July, 2019, the breakdown include 93 vehicles, 6,067 (50kg) bags of foreign parboiled rice, 730 (25litres) kegs of vegetable oil, 39 bales of second hand clothing, 966 pieces of used tyres, 50 (50kg) bags of sugar and 6 bundles of textile material.
"Cumulatively, the Duty Paid Value is put at Two Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Three Naira and Sixty Kobo (N210, 826, 503. 66. Thirty Five (35) suspects have been arrested in connection with the above seizures, five (5) have been charged to court, while others are on bail."
The Customs boss stated further that the command commissioned a Customs post in Kishi Community, Irepo local government area of Oyo state in its effort to combat smuggling, disclosing that the community has long been perceived to engage in smuggling with impunity because of their hostility to officers of Customs Service.
"The outpost was commissioned in the wake of a courtesy call on governor of Oyo state, Mr Seyi Makinde, on 17th July, 2019, where I appealed to the governor to prevail on Kishi people to refrain from their perceived activities and eschew the avowed hostility to Nigeria Customs Service so as to save themselves from the long arm of the law.
"We will continue to dialogue, engage and educate local and business communities on the security and economic implications of smuggling, while carrying out the statutory functions of enforcing compliance with the government fiscal policy.
"Achievements of the Command are attributable to the commitments of the officers and men of the Command and support from other units of the Service, such as Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) and CGC's Strike Force, and the synergy between the Command and other security agencies", he said.