…As Customs CG Address Protesting Clearing Agents
By Innocent Orok
The Nigeria Customs Service, PTML Command has intercepted and seized 20×20 foot containers , containing expired tomato concentrate. The expired goods were said have been imported from Spain.
Briefing the media on the history making seizure from the Command, the Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, said that the
expired tomato concentrates were concealed within 20 containers, each falsely declared as containing almond shells, all under the auspices of a company identified as Nikecristy Investment Limited.
“In each container, 80 drums were meticulously arranged, amounting to a total of 1,600 drums. The duty paid value of this illegal cargo is a staggering sum of N116, 211,725.73.
Adeniyi continues, “today, we stand before you to announce a remarkable seizure at the Port and Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML), a seizure that marks a historic milestone in the history of the command. We have successfully intercepted and detained a staggering 20 containers filled with expired tomato concentrate, an unprecedented event since the inception of this command.
“On the 8th of August, 2023, during a routine examination, our vigilant officers at PTML uncovered a cache of expired tomato concentrate, deemed unsafe for human consumption. The audacity of the smugglers to attempt introducing this hazardous product into the Nigerian market is both shocking and disheartening.
” As of now, all these containers remain in our custody, officially recorded as seizures. We have apprehended one suspect, Mr. Okonkwo Oliver Izunna, who is currently under administrative bail, but remains under investigation.
“This seizure, which was processed through three separate single good declarations (SGDs) forms, is a testament to our unwavering commitment to maximally suppress smuggling and our determination to safeguard the lives of Nigerian citizens by intercepting dangerous imports such as these.
“The actions taken by those involved in this unlawful activity contravene the provisions of sections 228(1) and (2), 55 (c and d), and 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. Additionally, it directly violates Schedule 4, item 14 of the Common External Tariff (CET) 2022-2026.”
The Customs boss said the audacious attempt for the dubious importer to introduce such large quantities of expired goods into the Nigerian market is frightening.
“I would like to take this opportunity to send a stern warning to importers and their agents, urging them to steer clear of unlawful practices such as false declarations aimed at evading duties or smuggling prohibited goods into our country.
” It is essential to reiterate that compliant automobile importers and their agents can now expect streamlined clearance processes, with consignments being cleared within three hours when importations adhere to our regulations, involve honest declarations, and prompt payment of customs duties”, he warned.
He implore all importers and their agents to act patriotically by making honest declarations. “Remember that compliance brings numerous benefits, including building a reputation for integrity, saving time and money by avoiding demand notices and penalties, and staying out of legal troubles that could lead to imprisonment, loss of licenses, and blacklisting”, Adeniyi said.
Meanwhile, CGC Adeniyi has pleaded with protesting Freight Forwarders to join hands with government to tackle the falling exchange rate by involving in export activities which is the only way to arrest the falling exchange rate.
Adeniyi made this appeal while addressing protesting Clearing Agents at the PTML Command who were accusing the Customs of increasing Customs Duty payment by 200%. He inform the large crowd that is not the Customs that increase Customs Duty , but is the fluctuating exchange rate of the Dollar to Naira . He appeal for calm as according to him , the Federal government is addressing the matter.