Western Marine Customs makes N110.2m seizures in two months
The Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it recorded 15 incidents of seizures worth N110.2 million in the Southwest creeks and waterways in February and March 2023.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Odaudu Salefu, while reeling out activities of the command, said there has been continuous suppression of smuggling in the creeks and waterways as well as facilitation of legitimate trade by proper implementation of fiscal policies.
He listed items seized to include 8,825 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS), 50 pairs of expired tyres, 1,519 bags of 50 kilogramme foreign parboiled rice, 700 pairs of foreign used shoes, 20 used foreign ladies bags, 88 cartons of bleaching cream, three outboard boat engines and one water pumping machine.
Salefu said following enforcement operations at different locations in Lagos, Ogun and Ondo States, five suspects were arrested and have been granted administrative bail pending when they would be charged to court. He said the actions of the command are in line with the provisions of sections 149 and 158 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
The CAC said illegal importation or exportation of PMS and foreign parboiled rice across land borders and waterways, contrary to allowed trade route restriction, is liable to forfeiture as provided in sections 46 and 63 of the Customs Act.
Speaking on factors that aided the performance/strategies, Salefu said the command has enjoyed cordial relations and cooperation from members of host communities, who have remained a major source of intelligence gathering.
He also thanked the Nigeria Navy, especially the Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft for the several operational assistance within the period under review.
Salefu also disclosed that the command received in addition to its fleet of boats, four operational boats consisting two gun boats and two logistics boats from the NCS headquarters.
He, however, appealed to smugglers to abandon economic sabotage and unlawful trade and embrace legitimate trade.
Salefu warned that the command will not rest on its oars to rid the creeks/waterways of illegal trade practices and will continue to enforce federal laws and policy restrictions.