Apapa: Customs arrest 21 suspected smugglers, generates N522.4 billion in six months

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has listed some communities inKwara and Niger as notorious for smuggling activities over the years.

The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said that it generated the sum of N522.4 billion and arrested 21 suspected smugglers in the first half of the year.

Controller of the Command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf who disclosed this last week Friday while briefing journalists in Lagos, said the amount generated represents a 42.5 percent increase when compared to N366.5 billion collected in the corresponding period of 2021.

According to him, the feat was made possible as a result of officers’ resilience in ensuring identified revenue leakages are mitigated, while sustaining the level of compliance by importers and other stakeholders in the clearance value chain.

He expressed optimism that with the revenue feat, the command will surpass its annual target by year end, even as the command has a revenue target of 1.27trillion for the year 2022

“From January to June, we have been able to collect N522.4 billion and that is just the beginning of the year. If we add the ember months expectations, which always come with a much higher volume of imports than the first six months of the year, we are hoping that we will generate more and surpass our yearly target,” he said.

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On export, he hinted that the command facilitated exportation of non-oil commodities with about 2.5 million metric tonnes above 540 metric tonnes recorded in the corresponding period of 2021.

He said the Free on Board (FOB) value of the exported items, which included steel bars, agricultural, and mineral products also rose from $1.6million in 2021 to $138 million in 2022.

“The Federal Government policy and export incentive schemes have played vital roles in boosting export trade in Nigeria and we in Customs are making sure that export trade that is not under the prohibition list is being facilitated,” he said.

He said the command also recorded seizures of 83 containers with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N8.3 billion within the review period.

Giving a breakdown of the items seized, he said they include 32 containers of processed and unprocessed wood; five containers of unregistered pharmaceuticals; 18 containers of used clothes/shoes and 12 containers of foreign parboiled rice. Others are seven containers of vegetable oil; three containers of tomato paste and one container of tramadol.

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He said 21 suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures while a suspect has been arrested in the recent seizure of 1/20 container of tramadol. The suspect, he said, is currently undergoing investigation for possible prosecution.

“The command has consistently strived in its core mandates of revenue generation, prevention and suppression of smuggling, trade facilitation, implementation of government fiscal policies as well as collaboration and cooperation with other government agencies to ensure ease of doing business in the port.

“To further strengthen the existing relationship between relevant government agencies in the port, the command had recently handed over two 20 feet containers laden with 150 cartons of illicit hard drugs to the NDLEA,” he said.

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