Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone “C” Owerri, said it seized 48 contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N197.38 million in July.
The Customs Area Comptroller (CAC) of the unit, Mr David Dimka, announced this while addressing newsmen on the performance of the unit on Sunday in Owerri.
He said that 30 suspects were arrested in connection with the smuggling on the Benin/Asaba Express Way, Owerri/Port-harcourt Road and Enugu axis.
He said that 20 cases were now pending in the court in respect of the seizures.
Dimka said apart from the 48 seizures, an under-payment of N24.25 million was also recovered.
According to him, a breakdown shows that 69 bales of second hand clothes; 39 vehicles; 139 pieces of used tyres; 244 pairs of used foot wears and 60 bags of 50kg rice were seized.
He expressed displeasure at the increased number of exotic vehicles seized by the unit on daily basis.
The area comptroller advised members of the public who wished to purchase vehicles to go through the official channels.
He advised them to always verify from the customs before investing their money.
Dimka warned that all illegally imported goods would be impounded as ignorance of the law was no excuse.
He also warned that the NCS would not succumb to “senseless and irrational pleadings for leniency and pardon by individuals caught in the act of smuggling”.
He said it would amount to compromising the statutory responsibilities of the establishment.
Dimka decried the upsurge of smuggling of goods in the country in spite of obvious stiff penalties for culprits.
He assured that the service would never be deterred in its mission to bring the scourge to its barest minimum.
He lamented the harm being inflicted on the nation’s economy by smugglers, their sponsors and collaborators.
He warned such unpatriotic individuals to desist from their nefarious activities as the NCS was now better equipped, trained and motivated to tackle smuggling.
Dimka warned those still indulged in smuggling to be mindful that the shady deal had brought sorrows and grief to those arrested and their families.
He urged them to turn a new leaf before it was too late.
He advised youths to purge themselves of “get-rich-quick mentality”, noting that the quest for materialism by many often pushed them into crimes and other illicit activities.
He advised those seeking white collar jobs to avail themselves of the opportunity being provided by the various skill acquisition centres, where they could be trained for self economic reliance.
Dimka commended members of the public for their courage and patriotism by supplying the unit with relevant information on smuggling.
He gave assurance that such classified information would not be divulged, in line with the ethics of the profession.