Despite the federal government’s ban on importation of vehicles through land border, the volume of cars smuggled into the country from Cotonou through Seme, Idiroko and other land borders has risen astronomically in the past four months.
The federal government had earlier in the year prohibited the importation of vehicles, new and old, through land borders.
Briefing newsmen in Lagos on Monday, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A, said that it intercepted 1,237 bags of expired foreign parboiled rice with the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N15.2 million.
The command also intercepted 27 luxury vehicles smuggled into the country, with DPV of about N228.2 million including 1,590 Kilogram of Cannabis Sativa popularly known as Indian hemp worth N72.9 million.
Speaking further in his office in Lagos, Muhammed Uba Garba, Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the unit, said that the contraband items, which has a total value of N9 million was allegedly imported from neighboring Benin Republic.
“These are 50kg of 1,237 bags of foreign Rice and some of them have expired. The Federal Government has banned the importation of rice and import vehicles through the land borders, but they are still coming in. This is why we have to enforce the FG policy on ban on importation of rice and vehicles through land borders.
According to him, the command will continue to enforce the policies because the policy on local rice production was put in place to encourage local rice millers vis-à-vis encourage local farmers and create jobs for majority of Nigerians.
“We also impounded used clothing and they are under prohibition and as policy implementing agency, we must ensure this goods are not allowed to come into Nigerian markets.
“We urge all compliant traders not to exercise any fear while embarking on their legitimate businesses but to be honest in their declarations because one of the enforcement agencies of Government, we will continue to work toward ensuring compliances with all existing laws regarding government imports and exports in the country,” the CAC stated.
Garba further disclosed that some of the Indian hemp and the medicaments have been handed over to respective agencies for further examinations and investigations.
“We have handed over some the Indian hemp and Medicaments to NDLEA and NAFDAC in the spirit of inter-agency collaboration for thorough investigation.” Garba further added.
Barely three weeks after intensifying our operational modalities, the field operatives fortified with credible information trailed and intercepted 27 assorted vehicles smuggled into the country through unapproved routes.