The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) has collected a total of N2.1billion as revenue for the first quarter of 2014. The amount indicates an increase of 17 per cent above the N1.8 billion collected within the same period of 2013.
Similarly, the command within the same period also made 252 seizures with duty paid value (DPV) of N140.5 million and handed over seizures of narcotics and artefacts to the relevant government agencies.
A breakdown of the revenue shows that much of the revenue was collected from duty payment on imported motor vehicles. The command explained that the revenue collected in the first quarter has given credence the resolve of its helmsman to fight smuggling and facilitate legitimate trade while collecting all revenue due to the government.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Willy Egbudin, who disclosed these while reviewing the activities of the command in the first quarter of the year.
Egbudin had on assumption of office last year emphasised the need to ensure that no area of revenue leakage is tolerated in the command even as he warned against anyone attempting to undermine his resolve through under declaration, concealment and outright smuggling to evade duty payment.
The seizures includes: motor vehicles, rice, frozen poultry products, vegetable oil, bales of used clothing, narcotics, cartons of soap, among other items. The seized narcotics were handed over to operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for investigation and possible prosecution of suspects.
Within same period, the command also handed over seized artefacts worth $16,870 to the National Council for Museums and Monuments (NCMM).
According to Egbudin, in the month of March 2014, the command did not only try to meet its monthly revenue target but also reinvigorated all patrols as the command ensured that all its personnel were on ground to provide round the clock security and preventing importation of prohibited and unwholesome substances.
The Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the command, Mr. Ernest Olottah in a statement made available to THISDAY quoted Egbudin ordering the full presence of the command's officers’ last Yuletide and the Easter celebrations holidays.
“This is to forestall attempts by smugglers to perpetuate illegalities during the period. You are to give in your best and maintain full presence at your duty posts this Easter period. This is to enable us to fully enforce our Comptroller General zero tolerance for smuggling more at a time when some will think we have relaxed our guard at the border or gone on holidays,” he statement said.
It added that there would be no room for economic saboteurs to thrive in Nigeria's busiest border and the command will continue to make this place safe for business and travelling with all anti-insurgency tactics and rigorous checks on imports approved by the Controller General of the Nigeria Customs Service.
According to the statement, Egbudin had also increased the rapport between the customs and border communities in Seme, Owode, Badagry as well as increasing the existing inter service relationship between the service and other government agencies in Nigeria on one side and our Beninoise counterparts on the other hand.