The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone “C” of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri says it has impounded illegally imported exotic cars and other items with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N137.8 million.
The Area Controller in the Zone, Comptroller Bukar Amajam, disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri on Monday while taking them round the exhibits.
He said the vehicles and two truck-load of 50kg bags of rice were seized due to lack of relevant documents, cloning of documents and evasion of payment of customs duties around Benin/Ore axis.
Amajam listed the seized items to include a 2014 model Nissan Almera with DPV of N4.8 million, a Mercedes Benz Jeep with DPV of N40 million, another Mercedes Benz Jeep with DPV of N8 million and two Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Jeep with DPV of N28 million.
Others are a 2016 model Range Rover Sports Jeep with DPV of N25 million, four trucks containing 1,400 bags of 50kg rice and three 1x40ft Mack trucks containing various items.
The controller said that the Federal Government had since banned importation of vehicles through the land borders.
He said that items without duties that found their ways into the country through the seaports were being detained for 30 days for thorough investigation and payment of officially established customs duties.
“But after 30 days of detention of the vehicles and other items without the presentation of official documents by their owners, such vehicles are forfeited to the Federal Government without further formality,” he said.
Amajam condemned the rampant cases of smuggling of contrabands into the country in spite of the stiff penalties being meted to culprits.
He warned those who were still in the illicit business to desist henceforth in their own interest, saying the NCS was now better equipped, trained and motivated to dislodge smugglers wherever they hibernated.
He expressed regret that the Federal Government was losing large sums of revenue as a result of the unpatriotic activities of smugglers, their agents and collaborators.
Amajam said the NSC would never relent in its efforts to drastically check smuggling.
“We are not equipped to witch-hunt or make things difficult for anybody; we are here to facilitate business and to ensure that the FG has the revenue accruable to it.
“What we are saying is that Nigerians should be patriotic enough and engage in legal businesses. Once you are into genuine business, you should not have anything to fear or to worry about.
“We insist on relevant documents to ensure the Federal Government does not lose any revenue from businesses.
“We must continue to checkmate smugglers until the business is drastically reduced, if not eradicated,” he said.