FOLLOWING renewed strategies to reduce smuggling activities to the barest minimum, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone ‘C’, Owerri, seized 169 items with a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N1.3 billion and N394.8 million as underpayment in the first six months of the year. Area Controller in charge of the unit, Comptroller Haruna Mammudu, who disclosed this in a press release signed by the Public Relations Officer in Owerri, Onuigbo Ifeoma, said the banned items were confiscated by vigilant officers and men of the unit on the Benin, Calabar, Owerri, Enugu and Aba/Eleme axis. The zonal command also arrested 42 suspects in connection with the seizures, while 25 cases are now pending in court for possible prosecution of the culprits between January and June this year. According to the command, the current figure is in contrast to the N39.6 million underpayment recovered and a DPV of N1.013 billion which the unit recorded in 2015. The comptroller stated that the items which were packaged and concealed in such a manner as to deceive security agents on duty include 90 vehicles; 2,758 bags of 50kg rice; 4,160 pieces of used tyres; 1,337 cartons/set of furniture and 625 cartons of fake drugs (medicaments). Others were 61 containers of logs of wood; 2,600 pieces of imported school bags; 97 pieces of 14 stroke engine generator and used fridges; 3,550 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products; 992 bales of second hand clothing; 897 cartons of foreign detergents and creams, as well as 167 pairs of foot wear. Comptroller Haruna while professing the preparedness of the NCS to tackle the scourge of smuggling of unauthorised goods into the country expressed delight at the seizures profile recorded during the first six months of the year as against that made last year. He, however, re-emphasized the dangers and implications inherent in the smuggling  of illegal and unauthorised goods into the country, noting that while the ugly practice had continued to deal a devastating blow on the nation’s economy, many families have been ruined as a result of the dastardly and unpatriotic practice. He appealed to Nigerians who are still involved in
smuggling to retrace their ugly steps in their own interest, warning that the Nigeria Customs Service is now better equipped, trained, motivated and reinvigorated to neutralise the antics of smugglers and dislodge them wherever they are hibernating. He also urged the public with useful information about smugglers, their agents and collaborators to always make them available to security agencies for necessary actions, pledging that such classified information would not be divulged to any individual, group or association. Haruna also advised officers to always discharge their duty without fear or favour and
abide strictly to the ethics of their profession, adding that efficiency, productivity and dedication to duty should be their watchword in spite of any challenge facing them. He assured that government will continue to reward deserving officers who distinguish themselves in the discharge of their official duties.

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