By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
The Sector 3 Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted a luxurious Bus popularly called Macapolo belonging to All Express International along Abuja-Lokoja high way conveying 44 bales of acidic secondhand clothing and 16 sacks of fairly used infectious shoes with a Duty Paid Value of N3, 680,000.
In the same vein, the JBPT operatives have tracked and arrested a trailer with Reg. No SRP 501 XA loaded with 550 foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each, along Mokwa-Jebba Road with a duty paid Value (DPV) of N14, 025,000.
Disclosing this to journalists at a press briefing in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, on Wednesday, JBPT Coordinator, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters, said: “Prominent to note also was the interception of 2019 Lexus Jeep worth N21m that was intercepted around Benue axis of the sector. It beats my imagination to think that a man who can afford this type of luxury car can try to evade customs duty of N7.3m.
He said; “Worthy of note is the fact that petrol smuggling through the sector has continued to be on the decrease in the face of sustained offensive against the illicit trade because the profit motive that drives smuggling is being scuttled. It is therefore reasonable for such people to embrace other means of livelihood
“We shall not relent in our efforts to fight smuggling to a standstill. We are on daily basis improving on our intelligence gathering methods and deploying our efforts, as well as available logistics in accordance with all extant laws as enshrined in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C45, LFN 2004 as amended, to ensure that Sector 3 is uncomfortable for all economic saboteurs.
“We therefore use this opportunity to warn those with evil activities and those using official or company vehicles to smuggle goods into the country to steer clear of sector 3 axis as there shall be no safe haven for them.”
The Comptroller added that within the period under review, the sector has made 107 interceptions which include Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Foreign Parboiled Rice, Motorcycles, Cartons of Foreign Tomatoes and Secondhand (worn) Clothing with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N139.7m, noting that the three illegal immigrants (Teenagers between 16-18 years of Age) who were arrested around Babanna axis of the Sector were handed over to Nigeria Immigration Service as one of the agencies in the sector saddled with such responsibilities.
Peters expressed the sector’s gratitude to the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), Office of National Security adviser (ONSA) NIA, DSS, Immigration, Nigerian Police Force and other relevant sister agencies, who in their efforts, “ensure the realisation of our mandate and make provisions for the needed equipment, especially operational vehicles.”
While acknowledging the cooperation of the Traditional rulers, Youth and Community leaders, NURTW, IPMAN and the good people of North central States who have continued to provide peaceful and enabling environment for our officers and men to carry out their statutory duties, the Comptroller reiterated that “sector 3 under our watch would maintain zero tolerance for smuggling bearing in mind its negative implication on the economic growth and development of our great country Nigeria.”