By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Strike Force Team, Zone A has disclosed that it generated N1.1 billion through the raising of Debit Note in the past six months.
The Assistant Comptroller of the team, Abba Kakudi, made this disclosure on Monday in Lagos.
Kakudi, who said that the amount was realised from Jan. 1 to June 11, added that they were able to bring in the amount in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected movement of goods.
He gave the breakdown of the monthly debit note paid as: January – N142,121,156, February – N275,644,911, March – N191,594,005, April – 282,288,359, May – N120,061,743 and June 1 to June 11 – N92,994,353, all totalling N1,104,704,527.
According to him, in the fight against smuggling, the team’s operations led to seizures with a Duty Paid Value of N46, 596, 300.
He listed the seized items as: 1, 000 bags of 50kg rice with a DPV of N13, 252,300; 10 used vehicles (Tokunbo) with DPV of N31, 184, 000 and 30 bales of second hand clothing with a DPV of N2, 160, 000.
“In the last two weeks or thereabouts, we have given a hard chase to smugglers who were desperate to unleash economic dislocation in the country and our efforts have continued to yield results with the renewed vigour of our men.
“It is important to say that in order to help the economy to grow, there is no need to import what we can produce here in Nigeria or bring in prohibited items.
“It is worthy to note that the Federal Government has encouraged a lot of rice farmers in the country, where local rice is produced in large quantity and even healthier than the foreign rice.
“Traders should therefore avail themselves of this opportunity to market our indigenous products in such a way as to grow the economy maximally,” he said.
Kakudi said that in a bid to police the smugglers from bringing in prohibited products, the team faced a lot of dangers, adding that sometimes, the smugglers were armed with machetes, charms and other dangerous weapons.
“This ugly situation is experienced more around the creeks where inhabitants mobilise some of their under-aged people against us, to the extent of calling us names as well as some stoning us, all in a bid to make/secure seizures,” the assistant Comptroller of the team said.
Kakudi appealed to those who believed that smuggling was very lucrative to desist from it as the task force was always a step above them in all their plots and strategies.
“A smuggler is an economic saboteur and such trade cannot be the best means of livelihood due to inherent dangers as well as losses to those behind it. Above all, smuggling ruins the economy of any nation,” he said.
Kakudi said that a lot of incentives had been provided by the Federal Government to revamp the economy and should be allowed to have the desired effect.
While urging importers to stop aiding and abetting the ugly trade because a vibrant economy meant stability for the nation and its citizens, appreciated the Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) for his support.