LAGOS, OCTOBER 10, 2016 – The anti-smuggling unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Seme Command has intercepted three bullet proof vehicles smuggled into the country at different entry locations.The three arrested bullet proof vehicles with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N58.79 million are: a black Jeep Escalade; a black Toyota Land Cruiser (VKR), both with Lagos registration numbers; and a black Mercedes Benz Bus with a foreign number.
Inspecting the seized bullet proof vehicles, the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Mr Taupyen Selchang, said on Sunday in a statement that the security of the nation remained a top priority to the border commands of the Customs service.
“Apart from generating revenue, suppression of smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade, the Nigeria Customs Service has a complementary role of protecting the territorial integrity of this nation,’’ he stated.
He said that the challenge of security “is vital to the survival of the nation’s socio-economic and political system; hence the need to ensure that bullet proof vehicles undergo security procedure for approval from the office of the National Security Adviser before importation’’.
Selchang said that the seizures recorded by the command in recent times attested to the alertness and the security consciousness of the anti-smuggling unit.
He said that the command, located at the corridor of the West Africa sub-region would not relent in its effort in combating smuggling and other cross border vices.
“When smuggling is drastically reduced through aggressive anti-smuggling operations as in the case of Seme Command, legitimate trade across the frontier is facilitated and higher revenue generated,’’ Selchang explained.
Meanwhile, the Command generated N1.1 billion in September, up from N883.7 million recorded in the corresponding period of 2015.
Selchang disclosed that the command recorded 76 seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N67.7 million in the month under review.
“The upsurge in the revenue figure in the period under review is unprecedented in recent times.
“Though the previous months were characterised by a lot of challenges that militated against the smooth collection of revenue in the command, it is heartwarming to note that efforts put in place to address the challenges yielded the expected result far above the preceding months,’’ Selchang said.
In his comments, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Victor Dimka, said that the previous challenge of revenue in the command had been overcome.
“There will be a boost in revenue if the Memorandum of Understanding signed with our counterpart (Republic of Benin) translates into handing over of all transit vehicles to Seme Command,’’ Dimka said.
He talked about the level of compliance in the general unification of values across border commands; the implementation of the complete 17 digits declaration of Vehicle Identification Number (VIN); and the strict adherence to clearance procedure of general goods.
Dimka was optimistic that this feat would be recorded and sustained, once the principle of compliance, transparency and integrity while discharging the core mandates of the service, is strictly adhered to.
The controller said that the impressive performance would go down memory lane to justify officers’ commitment and determination to succeed at all costs.
He said the command remained undaunted and would not be deterred in performing its statutory responsibility, no matter the challenge.
The controller said that the uncompromised stand of the command to work relentlessly in line with global best practices (border management) and the policy thrust of the Comptroller-General of Customs could not be over-emphasised.
He urged officers “not to rest on their oars’’ in having a healthy and symbiotic relationship with the stakeholders in the implementation process of the Federal Government’s fiscal policies.
Dimka said that a healthy relationship devoid of infractions in clearing procedure would give the command the desired result, increased revenue generation and suppression of smuggling.