By Samson Echenim
A total of 255,407 metric tonnes of goods with a total Free On Board (FOB) value of $78.4 million ( about ₦28.4 billion) were processed through the Onne Port in Rivers State in 2019, the Nigeria Customs Service has said.
Aliyu Galadima Saidu, a comptroller of Customs, who heads the Onne Port command said tariffs collections by the Area II Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Onne Port, Rivers State for 2019 hit ₦107.34 billion, surpassing the unit’s annual target of N95.7 billion handed it by the service’s headquarters for the year, by 12 percent, adding that a total of 24 seizures with duty paid value (DPV) of ₦1.28 billion were also made from smugglers during the year.
With N94 billion revenue collected by the command in 2018, the 2019 amount represents 14 percent increase over the previous year.
Seizures made from smugglers include 99 containers comprising vegetable oil, detergents, bags of foreign rice, scraps metals, corrugated aluminum sheets, furniture, tin tomatoes (tomato paste), insect repellant/killer, bales of fabrics and wax materials.
“The seizures were made due to wrong documentation, false declarations, wrong classifications, concealments and non provision of end user certificates for the imported machetes. Preliminary investigations carried out by the service revealed that the primary motive for the items being smuggled was to evade paying the correct duties,” Saidu was quoted in a statement.
Comptroller Saidu, who frowned at the continued menace of smuggling across the ports and borders, also lamented on the detrimental effect it has on the nation’s security, social and economic well being.
He advised those involved in such unpatriotic behavior to desist from it, and warned that the command will not spare anyone as efforts will be intensified in locating and investigating the economic saboteurs, no matter how they hide.
He also urged genuine business men to continue being law abiding and run their businesses with utmost compliance with the law as a way to build trust and integrity in their dealings.
Saidu also expressed appreciation to the Comptroller–General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.) and his management team for their consistent encouragement and support; while reassuring continued resilience and diligence of officers and men of the Command in carrying out all statutory responsibilities without compromise.
He extended a hand of fellowship to stakeholders including sister agencies, the business community and other organizations, thanking them for their support and cooperation with the command, while commending the resilience and diligence of all the officers last year. He also urged that the effort be sustained and improved upon.