- Look for Better Jobs, Customs Boss Advises Smugglers
The Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Mohammed Garuba, has advised smugglers to look for a better job other than smuggling.
He specifically urged smugglers to invest their money in legitimate business that would yield dividends for them instead of being involved in smuggling, which he described as an illegal trade.
He said, “Let me seize this opportunity to warn all would-be smugglers to desist from any act of illegal trade and invest their money in a legitimate business that will yield dividend on their investments. There is no amount of resistance from the smugglers and their mob accomplices that will deter us from performing our statutory responsibilities in all aspects, especially in suppression of smuggling within South-West zone.”
Garuba said that between January 1 and January 31, the command recovered N91.3m in unpaid duty and seized contraband worth over N1.6bn, bringing the worth of the total seizures and revenue generation to N1.709bn.
“Also, two containers were seized; one for carrying 537 cartons of Indian whisky as against yeast declared on the Single Goods Declaration form; another was seized for carrying 60 pieces of used chest freezers and 570 bundles of gas hose as against condenser for steam polysomy .This is a clear case of false declaration,” he said.
Also among the items seized, according to him, are 14 trailers of foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, vegetable oil, used clothing, Indian hemp, used tyres and exotic cars.
He said the value of the exotic cars alone was over N1.4bn.
Garuba listed the seized vehicles as four Rolls Royce, a Porche Panamera, a Jaguar, a Bentley worth over N29m, one Lexus jeep, two G-wagon, one Toyota Land Cruiser, five Toyota Corolla, seven Mercedes Benz and among others.
According to him, the vehicles were mostly 2017 models, adding that while some of the vehicles were intercepted along Ijebu Ode expressway, others were evacuated during various raids on Parkview Estate, VI, Banana Island, Alhaji Bankole Crescent, Ikeja and Tola Adewunmi Street Maryland in Lagos.
Garuba urged owners of the exotic cars to come with relevant Customs documents to claim the vehicles or risk losing them.
Speaking earlier while conducting journalists around the seized items on Tuesday, the FOU controller maintained that the Customs and Excise Management Act empowered the service to search people’s premises suspected to house smuggled items and impound those things.
He said, “We urge the owners of these vehicles to come forward with valid Customs clearance documents, otherwise they will be liable to seizure and subsequent forfeiture to the Federal Government in line with laws of the land.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our action is in line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (power to search premises), Section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45 Laws of Federation of Nigeria (power to patrol freely).”
The seizure of the exotic cars makes it three months of consecutive seizures of such vehicles since November last year.
In a similar raid in November 2017, the command seized 59 vehicles valued at N1.1bn in Lagos. Among them were four bullet-proof cars found in a residence in Ikoyi.
In December, the command also uncovered 57 exotic cars in Omole Estate, among which was one bullet-proof Lexus jeep, all of them valued above N1.3bn.