Operatives of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS) at the weekend raided some warehouses in Lagos State where smuggled goods are kept and recovered 750 bales of second-hand clothes.
Acting Controller of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Hussein Ejibunu, who led the operation reiterated the resolve of the unit to continually suppress smuggling and prevent loss of government revenue through seaports, airports, land borders and warehouses across the South West.
Ejibunu restated this following a recent complaint by a section of Licenced Customs Agents and Freight Forwarders about the presence of Zone A Federal Operations Unit operatives along the ports access corridor.
He described flawless compliance by importers, agents and freight forwarders as a major contributor in achieving seamless cargo movement across the unit’s areas of coverage.
According to him, “FOU ZONE A will never compromise national security and economic interests on the altar of trade facilitation by either allowing dangerous goods to pass unchecked or leaving consignments that haven’t paid full Customs duty to leave without collecting the shortfalls through demand notices.
“Only persons or companies that have things to hide or have breached sections of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) should be worried about the presence of my officers anywhere they are seen.
“Traders or importers who are not dealing in contraband or absolute prohibitions and have paid the right duty without attempting to falsely declare, under-declare or conceal to smuggle, should go about their businesses normally. These categories of persons have nothing to worry about because we are not after them.
“Barely a month of my resumption, all containers and trucks brought to my unit in the course of our operations were justifiably intercepted either as seizures or found to have evaded full duty payment. Some were also discovered to have concealed bags of rice under cement, a situation that could endanger consumers of such food commodities.
“Over 750 bales of used clothes were cleared and stocked in a warehouse; we got that information and acted as required. Gone are the days when clearing agents make a false declaration of items and get away with it. We shall continue to intercept and investigate culprits with the view of bringing them to justice.”
On the allegation of corruption against some Customs officers, the acting controller promised to look into it and take appropriate action against anyone found wanting.
He said FOU A will continue to serve as one of the layers of checks and defence against infractions as approved by the management of the NCS in line with extant laws.