Going by condemnation and outcry that usually trail the invasion of shops and markets across the country by the Customs officers, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has declared that the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 empowers its officers to raid and confiscate any smuggled goods found anywhere across the country.
Bamidele Makinde, the comptroller of Customs, Ogun 1 Area Command, said various sections and subsections of the Act empower Customs officers to patrol and raid smuggled goods anywhere they are found as the Act empowers the officers to enforce Customs and Excise law, make seizures of smuggled goods, arrest and detain suspects in connection with smuggling activities.
Makinde, who spoke with journalists shortly after receiving Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, acting Comptroller General of Customs at the Nigeria- Republic International border at Idi-Iroko, Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, warned any members of the public and smugglers who might want to obstruct, hinder and assault the Customs officers on duty to desist as such will attract a fine of N5 Million, Imprisonment for 5 years, or both.
“The Ogun Customs Area Command wishes to enlighten the general public that the Customs activities in Ogun State and Nigeria, conform to the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
“Various sections and subsections of the Act empower Customs’ operatives to carry out patrol freely in the exercise of their duties in enforcing Customs and Excise Laws, making seizures/detention, and arrest of suspects in connection with smuggling activities.
“The Act also prescribes various punishments on trade-related matters. Examples of such are obstruction of officers, hindrance, molestation or assaults on officers while on lawful duty as well as preventing seizure of items, or arrest of a suspect which attracts a fine of N5,000,000.00, imprisonment for 5 years or both”, he warned.
Speaking on the operations and activities of Ogun 1 Area Command of Customs, Makinde stated that the Command seized 2,113 (50kg) bags of smuggled rice, 21 units of vehicles (means of conveyance and Tokunbo), 17,950 litres of PMS and 1,416 pieces of used tyres among others, at different locations in Ogun State in July, with the duty paid value of N106,757,592.00.
Also, the Customs Command generated a sum of N13,370,229.00 as revenue, from baggage assessment and proceeds from auction sales of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) as it commends the compliant travellers for their honesty and patriotism which made part of the generated revenue a reality.