The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Strike Force Unit says it has recovered debit notes worth N1bn from importers in the last three months.
The service also said smugglers now made use of cattle, camels, vehicle fuel compartment, used tyres and booths to smuggle rice and other dangerous goods into the country.
The officer in charge of the unit, Deputy Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu on Tuesday said the amount collected would have been lost to smugglers, fraudulent importers and clearing agents who under-declared their cargoes at the seaports.
He however charged importers who involved in the false declaration of cargoes and under-declaration to uphold true declaration.
He said, “the Comptroller General, Strike Force Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service, generated N1.03bn from debit notes on major and minor infractions on cargoes that exited the seaport the Tin-Can Island and Apapa ports.”
“The essence of the strike force and raising of alerts on consignments is to raise debit notes. Also, importers and agents, we recovered these huge debit notes from won’t appreciate us for what we have done rather they will castigate us.”
Shuaibu also raised the alarm of new methods used by smugglers to smuggle contrabands especially rice into the country.
He said, “smugglers now endanger lives of Nigerians by smuggling cargoes through the use car booths, fuel compartment, tyres, vehicle engines.”
Corroborating Shuaibu, the National Public Relations Officer of the service, Joseph Attah, said the N1bn generated from the alerts in the first quarter had justified the creation of the Strike Force Unit.
He also said the new method used by smugglers had shown that big vehicles could no longer be used to smuggle rice and other contrabands into the country.
He said, “We have suppressed smuggling to the extent that they no longer make use of big trucks, vehicles, motorcycles to smuggle anymore. They now make use of camels, cattle, donkeys to move them in trickles.
“For instance, the three wonder cars were reconstructed and redesigned for the purpose of smuggling. They are reconstructed to get as much rice as possible, the smugglers can no longer use trucks and motorcycles because they are becoming difficult due to the anti-smuggling drive of our officers.”