Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’, has vowed to continue to enforce the Federal Government’s rice policy that prohibits the importation of foreign parboiled rice.
The policy, which was put in place to encourage local rice production, is aimed at making Nigeria self sufficient in rice production and creating more employment opportunities for the youths. Aside the ban on importation of rice from the land border, the Federal Government has technically ban import of rice through seaports as Customs vowed not to issue any Form ‘M’ to rice importers.
Also, the unit reported the interception of several contraband goods with duty paid value (DPV) of over N1.5 billion including an additional N166.2 billion generated from duty payment and demand notices on general goods from seaports, airports and land borders, which had wrong classification, transfer of value and underpayment of duty.
The seized items include Indian hemp, 64 exotic vehicles; 6,003 bags of foreign parboiled rice equivalent to 10 trailers; 963 cartons of frozen poultry products; 431 jerrycans of vegetable oil; 163 bales of used clothing; 569 pieces of used tyres; 69 bags of sugar and four containers of general goods.
Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, Mohammed Uba, area controller of the command, told newsmen that among the seizures was the interception of 570 parcels and 98 sacks of Indian hemp weighing 1,550kg along Olorunda axis of Ogun State. Intelligence gathering facilitated the seizure, which Uba rated as the highest seizure of hard drug in the history of the command.
Uba disclosed that the command together with the help of Lagos Roving Team, also evacuated 2,672 bags of rice from a storage house in Ilogbo, Abeokuta.
On the 64 impounded vehicles, Uba said 13 of the exotic vehicles including 2018 model of one Toyota Land Cruiser; one Escalades Cadillac; one Range Rover; three Toyota Camry; one Toyota Rav4; one Toyota Highlander; one Honda CRV; one Honda Accord; one BMW Salon; one Toyota Sienna and one Hyundai, were also intercepted while on patrol at various locations.
He however disclosed that the vehicles were still under detention pending the grace period given to the importers to bring the relevant Customs document. “Additionally, four containers including three by 40 foot containers and one by 20 foot container were also seized for breaches of Customs import processes.
Uba, who said that some culprits have been arrested in connection with the seizures, warned smugglers to desist from trade malpractices and invest their money in legitimate business as the command has devised other operational modalities to not only give them a run for their money but also make them to count their losses.