The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali rtd., has given clues as to how officers and men of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A intercepted and impounded 20 unit of 2017 models of Toyota Land Cruiser Sports Utility Vehicles SUV and other goods valued at N1.3billion.

The seizures, which were made between July 13 and August 7, 2017, were 20 brand new SUVs of 2017 model and 17 pieces of 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 models of Toyota Hilux vans.

Others include 37 assorted vehicles with a duty paid value of N1.3bn, which were being smuggled into the country through unapproved routes before Customs operatives intercepted them.

The Customs CG, who fielded questions from newsmen after the briefing on the seizures, said that the feat was a product of proper gathering and use of intelligence in the fight against smuggling and other related economic crimes.

It was gathered that the officers and men armed with the necessary intelligence, trailed the smugglers and the vehicles until it was safe to swoop on them and recover the vehicles.

It was not clear at press time whether arrests were made in relation to the seized vehicles, but unconfirmed sources said no arrest has been made as the smugglers abandoned the vehicles and took to their heels when they discovered that the officers and men had swooped in on them.

The CG, who expressed dismay over the attempt of some importers to evade payment of duty by resorting to smuggling, warned that the current management under his watch would leave no stone unturned in enforcing the anti-smuggling campaign of the service

He said: “The Nigeria Customs Service remains resolute in its determination to enforce the economic policies of the Federal Government. To this effect, the service will therefore continue to work towards crippling smugglers and getting them out of their illegitimate business”.

He however commended the officers and men for their diligence and proper use of intelligence in tracking the economic saboteurs, and pledged that the management would continue to improve on the welfare of the officers and men of the service while they serve their fatherland.