Not less than N1.3 billion has been raked in as revenue in the first quarter of this year by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun State Command.
The command, which has its headquarters in Abeokuta, also made 230 seizures with duty paid value (DPV) of N153.4 million. It also realised over N362 million as revenue generated from 3,644 vehicles within the first quarter of this year. These disclosures were made by the Customs Area Controller (CAC), NCS, Ogun State Command, DC Bamidele Akande, in a briefing in the command headquarters.
The CAC explained that the command for the period of January to March 2012 made an impressive performance, as it recorded over N1.3 billion revenue as against N730 million realised within the same period in 2011.
His words: “The difference is N613.3 million and we are working tirelessly to achieve our monthly revenue target of N900 million. The strategies we adopted brought about an appreciable N362 million collected as revenue on 3,644 vehicles for the period under review as against 692 vehicles with revenue of N115.8 million generated in the same period last year.
“The percentage difference is 308 per cent and the quantum increase was due to the unrelenting efforts of officers against smugglers in the area. Also in the period under review, we made 230 seizures with duty paid value (DPV) of over N153.4 million as against 320 seizures with DPV of N229.3million, which the command recorded in the same period in 2011.
“The downward trend in seizure-making has resulted in high revenue collected for government. The astronomical increase in revenue generation was due to the quantum leap of the imported vehicles on which duties were collected”, the CAC added. He however noted that men and officers of the command had some challenges in the discharge of their statutory roles and responsibilities.
“Notwithstanding the success achieved so far, there are challenges because there are many illegal routes within the border region. Given the precarious nature of the operational environment at the border and the violent nature of people within the border community, our officers are frequently attacked by smugglers who mobilised community members against Customs in order to continue with illegal trades.
“In such cases, our officers were attacked with guns, cutlasses and charms. Within the last two weeks, we recorded two incidences. “One happened at Ilashe along Idiroko/Atan Road, where a group of smugglers attacked our officers with dangerous weapons in an attempt to retrieve seizures. They were overpowered and one of them was arrested with sword and charms. The suspect by name Mr. Sunday Adisa has been charged to court already.
“Another incident took place at Aiyetoro where a smuggler, in an attempt to escape arrest, knocked down an officer. The vehicle was shot and the bullet hit the smuggler on the leg. The suspect is undergoing treatment in Customs Staff Clinic Idiroko and will be charged to court as soon as his condition improves. The vehicle found with him was impounded”, he said.
The CAC stated that during the command daily operations, a commercial bus smuggled into the country across the border but painted in Lagos colour to escape security checks, was intercepted by officers and men of the command.
Akande also disclosed that another vehicle smuggled into the country with the banner of the Odua People Congress (OPC) with an inscription, “OPC Squad Yewa, Chief Apena Agbaye of Ijebu Ode” was intercepted by men and officers of the command.
“We impounded smuggled vehicles that were mixed up in the entourage of the governor to escape arrest. We have seizures of second-hand clothes used to conceal Indian hemp”, he said.