The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone A, Ikeja, says its operatives have intercepted a vehicle branded COVID-19 but allegedly used by criminals to smuggle frozen chicken into the country.
The NCS also said its men intercepted various items of contraband worth N12.7 billion in the last four months.
The Unit’s Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah, stated in a release he issued yesterday that the officers intercepted the vehicle, whose occupants had allegedly disguised as health workers on essential duty, to smuggle cartons of frozen chicken into Nigeria from Benin Republic.
Attah, who quoted the Area Controller of the unit, Usman Yahaya, said the vehicle was arrested along the Ijebu-Ode expressway by NCS officers on routine patrol in the axis.
Yahaya was quoted as saying, “The officers were professional enough to intercept the vehicle, which was purportedly used in the movement of essential commodities, but the officers were surprised to see it was used for illegal activities such as movement of contraband.
We have arrested the vehicle and investigation has commenced to unravel the other atrocities the smugglers may have committed using the essential duty tag.”
On the activities of the Command in the last four months, the Area Controller said contraband items worth N12.7bn were intercepted from smugglers between January and April 2020.
According to him, the Unit also paid N1.14bn into the Treasury Single Account of the federal government from Debit Note (DN) on intercepted containers at the Lagos seaport, voluntary payment of Customs duty on vehicles and auction sales, among others.
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’s revenue base.
So we will ensure smuggling is reduced to the barest minimum and not allow it to fester as that could be injurious to our economy and the country”.