Lagos — The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has destroyed over 8,000 cartons of frozen poultry products seized from smugglers who attempted to bring the contraband into the country.
The products were buried on the ground.
The Customs Service, at the same time held a town hall meeting with stakeholders in poultry products during which it launched operation, ‘Hawk Descend’.
Operation hawk descend was meant to create a special task force to fight activities of smugglers, particularly on poultry products headlong.
Also, the essence of the town hall meeting was to put heads together and see how to salvage the poultry products’ sector.
Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, in his opening remarks, lamented that the poultry products’ sector had come under renewed assault by smugglers.
Dikko, who was represented by Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, Musa Tahir, noted that he spent a critical part of his professional years as a career customs officer at Seme command, adding that “it is indeed also with great nostalgia that I recall our anti-smuggling exploits filled with satisfaction about the outcomes. We did not only wage successful wars against smuggling, we also laid strong foundation for putting in place a regime of the rule of law and ensuring sanity in the border environment”.
He said the launching of operation ‘hawk descend’ was to fire the first shot in the war against smuggling of frozen chicken, turkey and other poultry products.
He said the operation would be conducted in the South Western border axis covering the commands and patrols in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states.
“This will be for initial period of three months (July-Septembers 2015),” Dikko said.
The Customs boss explained that the operation, whose driving objective was to achieve national food security and protection of Nigerian economy against saboteurs, would involve a zero tolerance for smuggling of frozen poultry products.
He added that during this period, the operatives of the service will intercept smuggled products, seize and destroy them in line with the provision of laws and regulations.
He called for useful information from members of the public about movement and storage of products, assuring that the Customs service will rely on credible intelligence that would lead to interception of the products.
“We will challenge you to track these products right from countries of importation. We need to send a collective and powerful message to the exporter countries that Nigeria can no longer be a dumping site for products that have outlived their usefulness,” Dikko warned.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Customs Area Controller, Seme -Badagry Area Command, Comptroller Ndalati Garba Mohammed, said that as the busiest border control post and a hub in West African sub region, they at Seme Area Command were strategically placed to uphold the core objectives of the Nigeria Customs Service which are, suppression of smuggling to the barest minimum, facilitating an enabling environment for legitimate trade and collection of revenue and accounting for same.
He noted that as a result of intensification of effort towards fulfilling these objectives, the rate of smuggling had declined drastically in the command with increased in revenue collection.
“The rate of smuggling declined from 458 seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N198,276,657 in the first half of 2014 to 384 seizures with DPV of N142,555,243 in the first half of 2015.”
According to Comptroller Ndalati, goods seized within the period include vehicles, rice, vegetable oil, general goods and over 5,178 cartons of frozen poultry products valued at N44,8178,440.
The comptroller further revealed that N4,815,209,043 was collected as revenue between January and June 2015 which surpassed the N4,330,670,435 collected within the same period last year by 5.3 per cent.
“Despite coming under severe attack and antics of suspected smugglers and their sponsors, we remain undaunted in pursuit of our national goal. An officer, CA111 (T), Olonitola G.M., is still recuperating from severe burnt sustained from a petrol bomb attack by yet to be identified suspected smugglers three weeks ago. These murderers must not escape justice. In the face of hazards, our head remain unbowed as the full logistics supplied by our ingenious CGC have been deployed for maximum efficiency,” Ndalati added.