Again, Customs impounds 64 bullet-proof cars, 13, 333 bags of rice worth N1.6bn
Less than one month after operatives of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Lagos of the Nigeria Customs Service impounded 51 exotic bullet-proof cars in Ikoyi and Festac Town, the unit has impounded another 64 pieces of exotic bullet-proof cars with actual value of over N1.3billion carefully hidden inside a compound in the phase 1 of Omole Estate, Lagos.
It was gathered that most of the cars are 2017 models of Toyota Prado and Lexus Jeeps, nine Toyota Hilux vans, eight Toyota Hiace buses; 26 Toyota Corolla cars; nine Land Crusher SUV; five Toyota Camry; one Land Rover; one Nissan Sentara; one Paper SUV while a total of six persons have been arrested in connection with the seizures, who are currently assisting the legal department of the unit in its investigations.
Customs Area Controller in charge of the unit, Comptroller Garba Mohammed, who briefed newsmen in Lagos Wednesday, also disclosed that a total of 13, 333 50kilogramme bags of imported rice with a duty paid value DPV of N164million and 835 pieces of 25-litre kegs of vegetable oil with DPV of N7.8million, were seized at various points within the units area of coverage between November 1 -30, 2017.
According to him, the seizure of the cars were based on intelligence reports, saying that no one has come up with authentic import documents to claim the cars, which is an indication that they may have been smuggled into the country.
He said that the seizure of the vehicles as well as the rice and several other items are in line with the renewed commitment of the service, especially the FOU Lagos to reduce smuggling and other economic sabotage to the barest minimum.
He said: “No one has come up with any document showing that the vehicles were genuinely imported into the country and appropriate duty paid on them, which suggests that they may have been smuggled. If any one comes up with such documents within the statutorily stipulated time, we will not hesitate to release the vehicles to him, but if no one does, the vehicles would be forfeited to the Federal Government.
“As we speak, all our warehouses are filled to the brim with goods smuggled into the country, which shows that the criminal elements are unrepentant. But we have also made a firm resolution that it is no longer business as usual because we will further expand our intelligence gathering network and so there is no hiding place for them” ,
“We also need to support Federal Government’s policy on rice, encourage local rice farmers, the millers and patronise our nutritional rice”
Also seized within the one-month period were 17 pieces of 20-foot containers some declared in the Single Goods Declaration SGD, document as spare parts but were discovered to be laden with other contrabands, 385 cartons of Fiffany Cream Biscuits, 230 cartons of Fiffany Chocolates and 137 pieces of engine blocks falsely declared as spare parts.
Similarly, a total of 1,390 cartons of frozen poultry products; 15 parcels of Indian hemp; 1,101 pieces of used tyres; 205 bales of used clothing among others were also seized within the period.
The Comptroller noted that the six suspects would be arraigned before a court as soon as the investigations were concluded.
He also hinted that the unit has put adequate measures in place to combat smuggling activities, especially within the Yuletide season, which is synonymous increased cases of smuggling and other illicit trading activities across the land borders.