Vanguard (Lagos)

6 October 2005

Nigeria: CG's Anti-Smuggling Squad Makes N10bn Seizures

THE Anti-Smuggling Squad set up by the erstwhile Customs Comptroller General(CG) impounded 4,373 goods of various description with total value put at N10 billion including duty payable between September 2001 when it began operation and November 2003 when it wound up. As the strike force continues its work at the Apapa Port, investigations showed that the squad headed by the current Assistant Comptroller General (ACG), Enforcement and Drugs, Mr. Francis Fadahunsi, also seized a total of 3,700 units of vehicles , 342,225 rounds of live catridges, 39,640 cartons of cigarettes and 18 pieces of single barrel guns.

A breakdown of the worth of goods seized during the period indicated that the total value was about N6.2 billion while total duty was about N3.9 billion. The Presidency had tentatively given approval for the establishment of the squad as a test case to check the high rate of smuggling within the Seme, Idi-Iroko and Ibadan border axis referred to as zone A and F by the customs. It was gathered that President Olusegun Obasanjo had to give a final approval to the operations of the squad following the seizures it made , which are unprecedented in the history of the Customs.

The squad which existed for most part of the tenure of the immediate past CG, Alh. Ahmed Mustapha, was however proscribed by the current CG , Mr. Jacob Buba, when he dissolved all task forces in the Customs. Fadahunsi's performance as the head of the squad was said to have resulted in President Obasanjo conferring on him one of the highest awards in the land , that is the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria. He was the first to collect the highest revenue and duties of about N 248 million on a single commodity like cigarette in 200l and the first to make the highest seizure in the history of the service when he made 404 seizures valued N200 million between January and April 2004.

The ACG enforcement and drug also became the first Customs officer to recover the highest underpayment of Nl.8 billion on Clean Report of Inspection(CRI) in areas under his supervision in 2003 alone. The breakdown showed that he made N 146482,724.69 in Ogun Station 1 command, N1;452,988,246 in Seme Border command and N212,666,154.58 in federal operations unit, for the CG squad only.

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