The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ of Nigeria Customs Service in Owerri says it confiscated 12 illegally imported cars and contraband with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N240m in the last one week.
The Unit Controller, Compt. Kayode Olusemire, made this known on Friday in Benin while taking journalists round the goods confiscated along Benin axis.
He said that three suspects were arrested in connection with the seized items who are helping customs with information.
Olusemire gave a breakdown of the confiscated items to include an Iveco Truck with a DPV of N4.05m, carrying 633 bags of 50 kg foreign rice valued at N16.20m, and concealed with cartons of Lucozade Boost and Ribena worth N1.82m, all totalling N22.08m.
Also impounded is another Iveco Truck with DPV of N4.05m, with 1,680 crates of 33 beer worth N4.44m, and 175 bags of 50kg foreign rice with DPV of N4.48m, totalling N12.96m.
The NCS also impounded a Peugeot Boxer with DPV of N1.44m, containing 131 sacks of Indian Hemp, valued at N4.13 million, Toyota Camry 2010 model with DPV of N5.14m and a Volvo XC 90 worth N3.58m.
Equally seized by the Customs is a Toyota Venza 2013 model valued at N12.91 million, Mercedes Benz GLK 350, and Mercedez Benz ML 350 with DPV of N12.95m and N5.82m, respectively and a Toyota Tundra valued at N13.37m.
Others are Mercedes Benz ML 350 valued N20.90 million, Toyota Hilux with DPV of N13.37m, Toyota Tacoma worth N13.39m, Toyota Highlander valued N17,91m and a Range Rover HSE, worth N30.73m aside others.
Olusemire warned people against taking illicit drugs, saying that most of the social vices such as kidnapping, Boko Haram activities and armed robbery were results of taking such drugs.
He enjoined companies and individuals to desist from planting such drugs.
On the impounded cars, the Custom Zone ‘C’ boss said that the owners of the cars evaded paying legal duties on them and appealed to importers to always go to the ports or custom offices nearest to them to pay their duties.
He said Nigeria had arable lands that people could plant rice, adding that the current government was doing all within its powers to encourage local rice production.
“Custom is ready anytime and anywhere to tackle smugglers. South South, South East is no more heaven for smugglers. No matter the system they use, we will fish them out.
“Nigerians find it difficult to comply with the law. The custom service is now in a new horison; officers are being motivated and trained, it is no more business as usual. The paragim has shifted and the officers are complying with it.
“Some people are not supporting Customs officers but what we are doing is for the benefit of all,” he said.
The comptroller solicited the help of the media in information dissemination on the negative impact of smuggling and the public in divulging useful and intelligent information that would assist the service do its work well.