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The Nigeria Customs Service (NIS), Oyo/Osun Area Command, has arrested eight suspected smugglers, reporting that the service generated over N6 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

The disclosure was made by the Customs Area Controller for the command, Mr Abdullahi Zulkifli, a Comptroller of Customs, at a press briefing held at the Command’s headquarters, Ibadan, Oyo State capital on Tuesday.

According to him, the suspected smugglers were arrested at various locations and have been granted conditional bail, saying they would be charged to court soon.

Zulkiflu also stated that the Command has secured the conviction of a smuggler, Mr Bayo Mafo, who “was sentenced by the Federal High Court, Ibadan, to three years imprisonment for impersonating as a customs officer and obtaining money under false pretences. This is to serve as a warning to others who, think they can continue to reap, where they did not sow, to desist from such illegalities.”

The Area Controller said the Command collected the sum or N13,397,441,364.71 from excise duties in the first quarter of 2019, as against N6,032,964,650.94, generated within same period in 2018, saying: “This shows an increase of 101.4 per cent in the revenue collected within the first quarter of last year.”

Zulkiflu stated further that 3,270 bags of imported parboiled rice of 50 kilogrammes, 700 kegs of vegetable oil of 25 litres each, 50 bags of sugar of 50 kilogrammes each, 20 bales of second hand clothings, 29 means of conveyance, and four used cars and sports utility vehicles, were also intercepted. The Duty Paid Value (DPV) of all the contrabands was put at N105,728,974.66.

The Area Controller noted that the seized rice and other contrabands were conveyed and concealed in vehicles that have no economic value popularly called ‘Gura-Gura’ and on motorcyles to perpetrate the nefarious acts.

Zulkiflu, however, vowed that the officers and men of the Command would not relent in their efforts in fighting smuggling with a view to protecting “our indigenous industries, reviving ailing ones and, at long run, creating wealth and jobs for our teeming unemployed youths.

“The command will continue to sensitise and enlighten the general public through the press, social media, traditional and community leaders on the effect of smuggling on the nation’s economy and encourage them to embrace legitimate businesses as means of livelihood.”

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