Smuggling Is A Crime; Not Trade

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Tade Adetoye

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, the purpose of this information is to enlighten the society that smuggling is neither a legal business nor a legitimate trade and that Nigeria Customs Service is committed to facilitating legal and international legitimate trade while it will totally inhibit and suppress unlawful trade or business, particularly, in Adamawa/Taraba Command. It is therefore, apposite to warn the smugglers and their sympathizers that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under the leadership of the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) has zero tolerance for smuggling and therefore are able and capable of dealing squarely with smugglers and their nefarious activities. As we prepare for the economic consolidation for the end of the year, any illicit trader who dares us in the Command will live to regret it.

It is also to alert the members of the public that regardless of the idea being harboured or canvassed by a selfish section of the public, smuggling is not trade, it is a fraud and serious stealing from the National economy which has resultantly left the economy bleeding endlessly and profusely; from the jugular vein. The by-product of which are unemployment, poverty, low purchasing power and near anarchy and instability ravaging the Nation. IT MUST STOP!

At best, smuggling is an economic sabotage to the Nation. Besides, this effort is to assure the people that the Customs Service in the Command will continue to bark and bite, and strike seriously. This is therefore, a timely warning to smugglers to be ready to suffer economic losses and prosecution if they refuse to stop their unpatriotic activities. To smugglers and other saboteurs, we urge them to desist because ‘to before warn is to before arm’. A word is enough for the wise.

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As an evidence to the foregoing, from January to November, 2017, a total of Forty Three (43) Seizures were recorded in the Command. This amounted to a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of One Hundred and Nineteen Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Six Naira (N=l 19,779,396.00). The seizures include; 50kg bags of foreign rice, fairly used vehicles aka Tokunbo and other vehicles used as means of conveyance. Others include used textiles aka Okrika, soap etc.

In the month of November, 2017 alone, the Command recorded Fourteen (14) seizures, most of which were 50kg bags of foreign rice, (i.e) Three Hundred and Twenty Three (323) bags with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Four Million, Seven Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Six Hundred and Four Naira Eighty Five Kobo (£44,717,604.85).

The special focus on the seizures of rice is to reinforce the Federal Government commitment to encouraging local production of rice, promote employment and stop dumping, among others.

Comparatively, the total seizures recorded in 2017 were forty three (43) with Duty Paid Value of One Hundred and Nineteen Million Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Six (Nl 19,779,396.00) Naira, while in the period under focus, January-November, 2016, the total seizures were eleven (11) with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Forty Four Million Four Hundred and Ninety Nine Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Two Naira, Ninety kobo (N44,499,742.90) ( see tables attached). It would be noted that the number of seizures in the month of November, 2017 alone is fourteen (14) seizures, which is more than the whole seizure of previous year, 2016, which were eleven (11) seizures.

Similarly, on revenue generation, in the period under review, (i.e) the first eleven months of the year, 2017, a total of One Hundred and Forty Five Million, Thirty One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty Eight Naira Seventy Eight Kobo (^145,031,988.78) was garnered to Federal Government coffer. This achievement in revenue generation was in spite of the fact that Customs duty on vehicles and rice has been banned in 2017 Government Fiscal Policy and we were left to rake in our duty collections from mere agricultural products like pepper, cotton links, beniseed, soya bean etc. The Command nevertheless, is committed to keeping the flag flying.

We, therefore, call on the patriotic members of the society to join and support us in this battle to rid the society of economic parasites and saboteurs who are wont to kill the socio-economic progress and political development of the Nation, Nigeria, through smuggling for their narrow and selfish interest. It should be noted by all, young and old, that smuggling is not trade but dangerous cheating and stealing of our National resources by a few with attendant consequence of unleashing poverty, unemployment, hunger, socio-economic and political crises on the Nation. Hence, support Customs against smugglers; smuggling is not a trade but a criminal offence of stealing and economic sabotage.

I am profusely grateful to all the Officers and Men serving in Adamawa/Taraba Command, (i.e) the Command Officers and Men, the Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU), the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘D’, Special Intelligence Squad (SIS), CGC Compliance Team, Valuation, the Medical Team et al for their commitment and understanding to set goals, unalloyed loyalty and patriotism. Our other pillar group is the Press, they have been disseminating our messages to reach the targeted audience effectively, we are grateful.

The support of the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and his Management in providing effective leadership, Operational and welfare needs cannot be over emphasized because it has been pivotal and richly instrumental to the feats we have achieved. No wonder, the Customs Service under this leadership has been excelling both in its revenue generation and anti-smuggling functions.

In conclusion, (Pabulum) we aver that we are not opposed to trade, we facilitate and support legitimate trade but totally opposed to illegitimate trade; please join our patriotic train and the nation, Nigeria, will be better for it.

Merry Xmas and prosperous New Year; STAY OFF SMUGGLING.

Taye Adetoye is Comptroller Adamawa/Taraba Area Command

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