The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has confiscated about 5,000 fairly used tyres worth over 20 million naira in Calabar.
Area Comptroller in charge of Akwa Ibom and Cross River States Command, Nicholas Oshomah, who addressed newsmen in Calabar, attributed the success of the Customs operatives in making the seizure to intensive surveillance and intelligence gathering.
Oshomah said: “The officers and men of the Command received intelligence report that large consignments of contraband tyres were being smuggled to this area. My officers and men did intensive surveillance for three days, monitoring movements of vehicles and we finally found where they hid the fake tyres.
“Our surveillance was majorly within Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Though the smugglers have not been arrested, when we got there, we saw the situation. But, because of the incidences we faced in the past where miscreants come around to attack officers, I quickly mobilized my other units, the federal operations unit.”
Oshomah claimed that the smugglers hid the tyres along one of several creeks, a situation that necessitated the involvement of other units such as the Comptroller in charge of Eastern Marine Command to lay siege for the smugglers, noting “they joined my officers from Oron and we have been on it since Tuesday. We were able to recover all the tyres from the waters. But unfortunately, we could not arrest anybody because the place was very far inside”.
He condemned the rate at which the unwholesome activities of smugglers undermine the nation’s economic growth.
Oshomah urged people, who are prepared to participate in international trade to abide by extant laws guiding export and import in Nigeria; warning that those caught trying to circumvent the system would be severely dealt with.
He further said that all prohibited goods seized would be destroyed as such constitute serious threat to the people.
The 5,000 fairly used tyres were conveyed using four big trucks and four smaller ones to the Nigeria Custom’s warehouse in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State amid heavy security.
In a separate development, the NCS says it currently generates an average of N500,000 monthly as duties from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The Customs Area Controller, Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Area Command, Kashim Ajiya, stated this at the inauguration of the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company/Aviance bonded cargo warehouse at the airport, in Enugu, on Thursday.
Ajiya said that the N500,000 monthly revenue being generated from the airport was mostly from passenger baggage declarations.
He admitted that the sum was very insignificant, especially at a period when the country was experiencing a huge decline in revenue because of the fall in the price of crude oil.
However, Ajiya expressed the hope that with the commencement of operations in the NAHCO/Aviance cargo warehouse, the NCS would start collecting “millions of naira” in revenue from customs duties from the airport.
He said, “The Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Area Command is more or less an excise-oriented command; 98 per cent of our revenue collection is from the excise traders and not from import duties, despite the presence of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport inaugurated in September 2013.”
By Pita Ochai