The Nigeria Customs Service has said that it generated about N3.1tn revenue in the last three years. The Public Relations Officer of NCS, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday that the revenue was generated between 2016 and 2018. Attah explained that the service realised N898.8bn revenue in 2016, N1.037tn in 2017 and the sum of N1.2tn was generated in 2018.
He said that within the period under review, about 16,049 seizures of various commodities were made by NCS commands across the country. Giving a breakdown, the spokesperson said 5,925 items were seized in 2016; 4,889 impounded in 2017 and 5,235 in 2018. He said, “The implementation of the presidential mandate to restructure, reform, and raise revenue by the present management of the NSC has greatly repositioned the service for better.
“What is challenging but being gradually achieved is the reform of persons, especially the need for attitudinal change on the part of the operatives and stakeholders. “Today, in the service, there is an increasing disposition to place national interest above self.”
Attah noted that porous borders, the non-cooperative attitude of some border dwellers and lack of proper implementation of the ECOWAS protocol on transit by people from neighbouring countries, had remained challenges against the fight against smuggling by the service.
“Others are the use of motorcycles and animals to smuggle items through difficult terrains,” he said, adding that the activities of smugglers, to some extent, had been kept in check in the last three years since the assumption of office by Col Hameed Ali (retd.).
In a related development, the Area Commander, Seme Command, NCS, Mohammed Garuba, said the command generated revenue in excess of N1.055bn in December 2018. According to him, this represents 92 per cent of the command’s targeted revenue for 2018. He said that the command also seized over N623m worth of contraband during the period under review.
The Seme Customs CAC, who was speaking in Seme on Tuesday, said intensified operation of the Enforcement Unit of the Command had also led to a drastic reduction in the activities of smugglers. He listed some of the items seized in December to include 11 trailers ( 6,753 bags) of 50kg foreign parboiled rice valued at over N157m, N573.6m worth of vegetable oil, sugar, petrol, tinned tomatoes, used shoes, narcotics, and used vehicles, among others.
He disclosed that a suspected smuggler, Kenneth Cornelius, who was arrested by the Command, had been sentenced to a term of two years in prison. He stated, “With the inauguration and subsequent movement of the Command to the Joint Border Post of Seme-Krake (designed to operate as a modern border), the operations of the command will be further enhanced through cooperation, collaboration and regional integration by facilitating the free movement of persons and services, reduction of trade and logistics costs, increasing inter-regional trade, increase of government revenue by eliminating trade barriers, reduction of delays, operating cost and availability of baseline data for impact assessment.
“This is to assure the Customs high command that this year’s revenue target allocated will not only be met but will be surpassed provided that other factors remain constant. “The Command will further strengthen its anti-smuggling operations against trans-border crimes, through intelligence-driven operations and continuous partnerships with other relevant agencies, for effective border management to stem the unlawful activities of daredevil criminals.”
He added, “We, however, assure members of both local and business communities that the command will increase dialogue, enlightenment and robust stakeholder engagements for seamless operations through the modern Joint Border Post. Furthermore, Customs personnel will remain stationed at strategic and approved points to assist in the facilitation of legitimate trading activities and equally ensure adequate security.”