The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service says it has intercepted a vehicle with COVID-19 sticker used for smuggling frozen chicken into the country.
The unit in a statement said it also intercepted other contraband goods worth N12.7bn between January and April.
Customs Area Controller of the unit, Usman Yahaya, who spoke through the Public Relations Officer, FOU, Zone ‘A’ Jerry Attah, said that the officers intercepted the vehicle while trying to smuggle cartons of frozen chicken into the country from the Benin Republic.
Yahaya said the vehicle was arrested along Ijebu Ode expressway.
He also disclosed that they were intercepted based on intelligence reports and the efforts of eagle-eyed officers who were on routine patrol along the axis.
He said, “The officers were professional enough to intercept the vehicle which was believed to be used in the movement of essential commodities but they were surprised to see that it was used for illegal activities such as movement of contraband.
“We have arrested the vehicle and investigation has commenced to get to the root of the matter and unravel other atrocities that may have been committed using the essential duty tag.”
Speaking on the activities of the command in the last four months, Yahaya said contraband worth N12.7bn was intercepted between January and April.
According to him, the unit also paid N1.14bn into the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government from debit notes on intercepted containers from Lagos seaport; voluntary payment of Customs duty on vehicles; auction sales from petrol, among others.
Giving a breakdown of the seizures, he said 25 units of used vehicles worth N108m; 5,644 cartons of frozen chicken worth N54.1m; 9,843 bags of 50kg smuggled parboiled rice worth N130.4m and sacks of textile materials worth N94m.
Others are N14m worth of used tyres; 3,764 kegs of smuggled vegetable oil worth N69.2m; 8,365 litres of smuggled petrol and diesel worth N35m.
The Customs boss said, “We won’t relent on our anti-smuggling fight especially at this time the government is preaching diversification into the agric sector due to the fall in price of oil in the international market, which has affected government revenue base.
“So, we will ensure that smuggling is reduced to the barest minimum and we will not allow it to fester as that could be injurious to our economy and well-being as a country.”