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Tin-Can Customs generate N24.85bn in January

The Tin-Can Island Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it generated N24.85 billion in January, up from N20.95 billion it recorded in the corresponding period of 2015.

The Public Relations Officer of the command, Mr Chris Osunkwo, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos as maritime activities closed on Friday.

Osunkwo attributed the improvement in revenue to the quality leadership of the new Customs Area Command, Comptroller Yusuf Bashar.

He said the controller always monitored revenue flow of the command.

“The command‘s achievement is also as a result of the increase in transparency of our operations, compliance by clearing agents as well as a robust electronic system.,” Osunkwo told NAN.

He said that the command generated N284.29 billion in 2014 and recorded N266.18 billion in 2015.

Osunkwo attributed the drop in revenue in 2015 to restriction of foreign exchange to some category of imported items.

He said that the command was working hard in ensuring that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali, achieve the Customs target of N1 trillion in 2016.

Osunkwo said the command had closed all suspected and identified leakages, adding that all hands were on desk to ensure that the command achieve its revenue profile.

He said that the command had two seizures along with the revenue generated in January, saying that the seized items were furniture and some items under the Import Prohibition list.

Osunkwo said the command would be commencing a stakeholders’ forum to ensure that stakeholders operate in line with international best practises.

In the week under review, the command intercepted a 40 ft. container with 980 rounds of 9mm type live ammunition and a pistol imported into the country from the U.S.

The controller said the ammunition including a camouflage military face cap, camouflage belt, a pair of hand gloves and a pair of shoes were concealed along with other personal effects in two vehicles.

Yusuf said the arms and ammunition and a suspect, who was arrested in connection with the seizure, had been handed over to the Department of State Security Service (DSS) for further investigation.

During the week, the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ Ikeja of NCS impounded 3,326 cartons of smuggled frozen poultry products valued at N17.9 million.

The Controller of the unit, Comptroller Dahiru Umar, made the disclosure in a statement made available to newsmen by the Public Relations Officer, Mr Uche Ejesieme.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Umar assumed office as the Head of the unit on Jan. 12, 2016.

He said that the seizures were effected in different locations under the supervision of the unit.

The controller said the unit was working very hard to change its mode of operation to suit the exigencies of the moment and to also ensure that it remains on top of the smugglers’ antics.

He noted that the renewed onslaught led to the interception of an articulated truck suspected to be used in conveying a large quantity of the smuggled frozen poultry products.

Umar also explained how smugglers used a truck purportedly meant for conveying alcoholic beverages to conceal cartons of the poultry products.

He said that two suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.

“The smugglers must expect a tougher onslaught on them because we cannot afford to fail in the discharge of our statutory mandate of suppressing smuggling.

“I have commenced courtesy visits to heads of critical security agencies of the Federal Government so that we can form a formidable front in the fight against smuggling.

“I advise smugglers in this zone to invest their money in more legitimate businesses and avoid smuggling, because the more you smuggle, the more we seize,” NAN quotes the controller as saying.

He urged the public to oblige the service with useful information on the activities of smugglers.

Also during the week, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said that the nation’s water channels had been dredged up to 14.5 metres draft and accommodating bigger vessels as long as 250 metres.

The General Manager, Western Ports of NPA, Chief Michael Ajayi, said this in an interview with NAN.

“The channel is excellently safe. Prior to concession, we were having about 12.5 metres but as I speak to you now we are having 14.5 to 15 metres draft.

“Two hundred and fifty metres vessel can be well accommodated and the quay side too had been well properly dredged.

“We even have some 13 metres, 12.5 metres now along side, very safe. They (APM Terminals Ltd.) have successfully brought in vessels of 250 metres – WAFMAX,” Ajayi said.

He said that NPA was on top of its statutory duties in ensuring that Nigerian ports attract bigger vessels.

NAN reports that Maersk Line makes direct call from Asia, especially China, to Nigeria with about 4,500 containers loaded in one West Africa Maximum (WAFMAX) vessel due to the dredged channels. (NAN)