The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Western Marine Command (WMC) on Tuesday said it collected N1.1 billion in 2020.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) in charge of the command, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters, said this in Lagos on Tuesday.
According to him, the figure is an increase of N970.44 million from N129.56 million achieved in 2019.
“The WMC as the amphibian arm of the service has the statutory responsibilities of suppression of smuggling activities and enforcing the Federal Government’s fiscal policies along the South Western waterways and creeks.
“The year 2020 is a year of biggest achievement in the history of WMC. The command witnessed change of baton in late February 2020 with the assumption of a new CAC in the person of Peters.
“Upon assumption of office, he re-jigged the operational activities of the command with the sole aim of blocking the porosity of the creeks in order to suppress smuggling activities along our territorial waters, thereby achieving maximum and efficient operations.
“These strategies led to the seizure of 81 different items from January to December 2020 with total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,104,647,370.00) only as against the DPV of N129, 559,656.46 only in the Year 2019,” he said in a statement.
Peters noted that these unprecedented seizures were made as a result of the strategies put in place in terms of 24-hour patrol, capacity building, surveillance, intelligence gathering, doggedness and determination of operatives in making the zone unbearable for smugglers.
He also appreciated the efforts of other sister agencies for their contributions in providing relevant information in making some of the seizures.
“Recall that the operatives of the Command had on April 24, 2020 made a unique seizure of over 10 tonnes of Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana) valued at N1,002,050,000 only which happened to be the biggest single item catch of Marijuana ever seized in the history of Nigeria Customs Service.
“This feat has received national and international commendations. The Comptroller-General of Customs on behalf of the Management recognised the outstanding performance of the officers/men involved in the seizure with commendation letters.
“Also, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) has recognised the command and they are about to install a Video Tele-Conferencing (VTC) Cisco WebEx equipment that will aid our operations in the maritime industry.
“The equipment is funded under the auspices of the Government of Denmark aimed at strengthening maritime law enforcement response to piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
He said the seizures were strong indications that operatives of the command were combat-ready in policing and enforcing the Federal Government’s fiscal policies in spite of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
Peters reiterated firm commitment in carrying out the duty vested on him in suppressing smuggling to the barest minimum.
He urged patriotic citizens to continue with their legitimate business in accordance with the extant laws as enshrined in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).