The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has impounded 37 brand new vehicles reportedly worth N1.3billion and 12,081 bags of smuggled parboiled rice with a Duty Paid Value ( DPV) worth N149million.
The seizure were made by officers and men of the Federal Operation Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ Ikeja and the CGC Compliance Team in Lagos. The impounded vehicles according to Customs boss, Hameed Ali, include eight Lexus Jeep -LX570, 2017 model; 12 Land Cruiser Jeep-GXR, 2017 model and 17 Toyota Hilux of 2016, 2013, 2012, 2012, 2011 and 209 models respectively.
The Nation reports that Ali said, 130 parcels of 116kg each and 45 sacks of 450kg at 10kg each of Indian hemp with duty paid value of N12.7million were also seized. Seventeen suspects were arrested but 11 have been released on bail.
Custom boss Ali, while speaking on the seizure, said: “The 37 vehicles have a duty paid value of N1,374,122,679.00. Similarly, the 12,081 bags of smuggled parboiled rice has a duty paid value of N149, 007,658.
“Apart from the seizure of vehicles and rice, the reinvigorated anti-smuggling operations yielded another 156 assorted seizures including bales of used clothing, Indian hemp and used tyres that are inimical to the health of our people and our country. “For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal Government policies banning the importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders are still in force.
The Nigeria Customs Service remains resolute to work towards crippling smugglers and getting them out of the illegitimate business. “In the face of security and economic challenges, no responsible government will fold its hand while unpatriotic elements continue to engage in illegal activities that will further compress national economic and security well-being of her people.
Ali promised that the NCS as one of the enforcement agencies of government will continue to work towards ensuring the compliance with laws governing imports in Nigeria. He said: “For those who use violence as instrument of intimidation, let it known that going forward, NSC operatives will not hesitate to use appropriate force to deal with any threat that is intended to obstruct performance of our statutory functions.”
Meanwhile, the NCS announced that about 43 persons have won the bidding of vehicles in the first 48 hours of the newly launched e-auction platform. The public relations officer, Joseph Attah, told pressmen on Wednesday, July 5, in Abuja that the platform was working quite well. According to the Customs, the platform is aimed at giving all Nigerians equal opportunities to partake in bidding for seized vehicles and to increase Customs’ revenue.