Customs accuse foreigners of endangering forest, wildlife
Seize 91 containers of unprocessed woods, charcoals in two months
The Comptroller-General of Customs’ (CGC) Strike Force, Team A, has decried the continuous degradation of Nigeria’s forest and illegal extinction and exporting of wild life by foreigners from the Middle East.
This, the team revealed, having seized 61 containers of wood with duty payment value of N6 billion, 36 containers of charcoal at N381 million and 1,110 pieces of raw hides and skin in 185 sacks worth N61 million from October and November 2021.
The Coordinator of the Team, Ahmadu Shuaibu, told reporters yesterday, that most of the seizures were in contravention of Federal Government policies on export prohibition.
He said foreigners connive with local farmers and forest management authority to flout the sustainable forest management policy of harvesting and planting by the federal government to illegally deplete the country’s forest and its wildlife for export, despite the prohibition order.
“Before now, exporting of charcoal was not prohibited, but it is now because of the jettisoning of the sustainable forest management policy where people harvest trees without planting.
“The Federal Executive Council through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture decided that henceforth, exportation of unprocessed woods and its derivatives such as charcoal remains banned, but foreigners pay our forest management authority peanuts to get their acts done here. 10 of these containers of charcoal seized were taken to the Middle East,” he said.
Shuaibu further listed other seizures made by the team to include, 1×20 ft container of batteries valued at N29 million, 4x40ft containers of second hand clothing valued at N566 million and 1x20ft container of tomato paste in 1,912 cartons, worth N9 million.
He said some of the seizures were contrary to import guidelines and evasion of duty payment to the government following the combination of intelligence, diligent enforcement and zero compromise disposition of the team that resulted in a total of 103 seizures with total duty paid value of N7.85 billion.
“We are not unaware of smugglers’ desperation to carry out their illegal activities at all times, especially when yuletide approaches but they should beware that no matter how smart they rate themselves, the Strike Force Team A will always be steps ahead of them.