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Arms seizure: Reps to investigate illegal activities at bonded terminals, FTZs

Suspension of tariff on some food items not licence to import contraband – Customs’ CG   The House of Representatives Committee on Customs has informed…

  • Suspension of tariff on some food items not licence to import contraband – Customs’ CG

 

The House of Representatives Committee on Customs has informed the management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) that it will launch a thorough investigation into illegal activities being perpetrated at Bonded Terminals and Free Trade Zones (FTZs), especially the alarming rate of illegal import of arms and other illicit substances through those points.

The Chairman of the committee, Leke Abejide, stated this in his remark when the committee paid an oversight visit to the NCS headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said, “We will scrutinise the operations of these facilities to identify and eradicate any illegal businesses and activities. Those found to be non-compliant with regulations will face severe consequences, including the recommendation for closure.

“This decisive action is imperative to prevent these zones from becoming havens for illicit activities that threaten our national security and economic stability.”

Abejide noted that the vigilance of NCS, leading to the seizure of arms, ammunition and illicit substances, especially at a time when the nation was facing pervasive insecurity, had saved the lives of many Nigerians.

While reacting to questions from the visiting lawmakers, the Comptroller General (CG) of NCS, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, clarified that the recent suspension of tariff on some food items was not a licence to bring in banned items into the country.

He said, “We are still studying it ourselves. There is nothing in that pronouncement that says the extant rules have changed, apart from the suspension of the tariff and taxes. Things that are not allowed through the land border have not been allowed by that pronouncement.

“But if there are specific issues or requests that will be made from border areas, we can articulate them as input to the Minister. What was released recently is a product of several months of consultation.

“The objective is for us to address hunger in Nigeria and not to provide a base for smuggling through the land border. So, we have to be very careful in the implementation to ensure we don’t get undesired objectives from it.”

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