Owerri Customs confiscates N501.6m contraband, 16 exotic cars

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri said it confiscated 16 exotic cars and other contraband with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N501.65 million in the last three months.

The Controller of the Zone, Mr Kayode Olusemire, said this while displaying the seized contraband to journalists at their Benin office on Thursday.

He said the 16 exotic cars included an armoured car.

Olusemire said other contraband included 4,338 50kg bags of foreign rice, 781 cartons of fake pharmaceutical drugs and 53 bales of used clothes.

He said that seven suspects were arrested in connection with the seized items.

Olusemire said that importation of contraband had negative effects on Nigerian econony, expressing regret that Nigerians were yet to key into the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture and directives on importation of goods.

“Despite efforts being made by the federal government, people are still bent on smuggling in goods and contraband into the country. But customs men are always ready; we are prepared to continue to fight the smugglers to a stand-still.

“Nigeria has aerial land, our vegetation is green, we should have sufficient food if the people buy into the agricultural policy of the FG,” he said

Olusemire said that while the Customs Area Controllers (CACs) Roving Information team in the zone impounded the smuggled bags of rice, the Benin mobile patrol axis confiscated the state-of-the-art cars.

He listed the seized items as an Armoured Toyota Land Cruiser (2013 Model) with a duty paid value of N63,530 million, Toyota Hilux (2018 Model) worth N30.13 million, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado valued at N10.56 million and 781 cartons of Chakapacin Xtra tablets with duty paid of N39.50 million.

Other items impounded by the customs are three Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Toyota Camry,  four Toyota Hilux, three Toyota Venza, four Matic MC 350 Mercedes Benz (2012 model) and none Toyota Privics Bus.

The seizures include 4.338 bags of 50kg foriegn rice in diffrent conveyor trucks.

The trucks and rice have duty paid value of N66.97 million and 53 bales of used clothes valued at N7.63 million.

Some of the goods were concealed in plastic containers and non-contraband items

Olusemire expressed concern about the unabated tide of smuggling in the country in spite of government’s stringent measures.

He said the Customs Service would continue to evolve pragmatic and result-oriented strategies to neutralise the antics of the smugglers.

“Smuggling is an act of sabotage to the nation’s economy and we will not relent in our efforts to monitor and checkmate smugglers wherever they are, no matter the method they apply to achieve their goals.

“Our men are all over the place and we will never give them a breathing space because we are now better equipped, trained, mobilised and motivated to perform,” he said.

Olusemire said that the foriegn rice had expired and were unhealthy for human consumption due to long period of storage in their countries of production, while the pharmaceutical drugs had  no NAFDAC numbers.

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