The Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri has seized contraband worth N591 million.
The Unit Controller, Mr. Kayode Olusemire, who made the disclosure in Benin, Edo State on Friday said 22 brand new cars including five bullet-proof and 625 bags of 50 kilogrammes foreign rice with a total duty paid value of N591 million were confiscated by Benin Patrol Team, while six suspects were arrested in connection with the smuggled items.
Olusemire gave the breakdown of the seized items to include a Mack Truck conveying 350 bags of 50 kilogrammes foreign rice concealed with food packs, a Toyota Hiace Bus with 25 bags of 50 kilogrammes foreign rice, all with DPV of N21.61 million.
Also confiscated were bulletproof Range Rover 2017 model with DPV of N10.27 million, bulletproof Toyota Hilux (2018) with DPV of N95.65 million and bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser (2017) valued at N81.70 million.
A Toyota Hiace Bus 2008 Model with DPV of N10.54 million, Toyota (2012) worth N7.11 million, Toyota Camry (2018) valued at N10.14 million, a Range Rover Evoque (2015) with DPV of N16.77 million, Mercedes Benz ML550 (2013) valued at N13.35 million and a Toyota 4Runner (2016) with DPV of N17.86 million were also seized.
Others are Honda Pilot (2016) with dpv of N14.84 million, Mercedes Benz (2014) worth N14.48 million and a Mercedes Benz CLA (2014) with DPV of N12.35 million.
The unit controller said it was worrisome that some people would use millions of naira to buy bulletproof cars or exotic cars and find it difficult to pay duties on them.
He urged importers to go to the customs’ website or offices close to them to get necessary information on what it would take and the expectation of the Customs from importers before they embarked on such businesses.
He said non-payment of duties on imported items amounted to sabotaging efforts of the government to grow the nation’s economy and a huge loss to the smugglers who would forfeit their goods if confiscated.
“Smugglers’ activities are inimical and a sabotage to the nation’s economy.
“People should stop wasting their money on buying exotic cars that would be seized. They should go and pay their duties to customs offices close to them. It is high time we started doing the right things in this country,” he said.
Olusemire said the NCS was more determined and equipped to arrest smugglers or business people who failed to pay duties on imported goods.
“The customs officers are sharper and more focused to ensure that no smuggler or lawbreaker escapes. They must be brought to book,” he said.
He therefore appealed to Nigerians to engage in credible businesses, desist from importing contraband and pay their duty as required by law.