Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted some rice and other contraband valued at N767 million falsely declared as machinery at the Lagos ports. It was learnt that 1,185 bags of smuggled rice, 2,147 cartons of cosmetics, vehicles of different models, 1,320 bales of textiles materials were falsely declared as machinery at Lagos Port and Tincan Island Port.
The goods, which were smuggled to Lagos seaports from the Benin Republic, were intercepted by the Comptroller General of Customs’ strike force. The service has also raised Debit Notes (DN) on 13 containers falsely and under-declared at the nation’s seaports in the last three weeks.
The Coordinator of CGC’s Strike Force, Zone A, Lagos, Ahmadu Bello Shuaibu, a deputy comptroller, explained that while N350 million were raised from DN in cargoes from Tincan and Apapa seaports, N417 million were Duty Paid Value (DPV) of contraband smuggled into the country from neighbouring coun-tries. He said: “These are some of our anti-smuggling effort. We have containers loaded with footwear and we know shoe is contraband and these particular goods are falsely declared and by our statue book, classified foot wears are contraband.
“The DPV of 935 cartons of shoes is N32 million and from the ICT section, the intervention we have made so far are on 13 containers of various items that are contraband as well as falsely declared worth over N350 million.” Also, Shuaibu said that the team intercepted 756 bales of lace materials with DPV of N34 million, saying that the reason for seizure was that they were falsely declared as machinery.
He advised smugglers to desist from unlawful practice while advising importers and clearing agents to embrace honest declaration, saying that importers and agents should help government by making accurate declaration so that the right duty would be collected. Also speaking, the service’s Public Relation Officer, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah, explained that the interception of contraband and DN of N767 million raised in last three weeks had justified the relevance of the Strike Force team to the Nigerian economy. He noted that the idea for false declaration by importers was to evade appropriate payment of duty.
According to him, “Lace material is not contraband, but the reason for false declaration is to evade duty and taxes meant for Federal Government and it behold on Customs charged with the responsibility of protecting national security and contributing to trade facilitation, to make such seizure. “The implication is that the importer is deliberately short-changing the Federal Government with needed fund to build infrastructure.”