The Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, command of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has intercepted N68.9 million worth of frozen products smuggled through the airport.
This disclosure was made during a joint press conference between the Customs Area Controllers of the MMIA Command and Murtala Muhammed Area Command (cargo section), headed by Comptroller Adewale Adeniyi and Comptroller Lena Oyama.
Mr Adeniyi, while speaking to journalists, said the seizure was as a result of the border closure because it was the first of its kind in the history of the airport commands.
He further stated that the goods were intercepted following the discharge of a cargo from a South African Airways flight 5A060 from Johannesburg on November 10.
“Forty cartons were intercepted on the South African Airways flight and 104 cartons were abandoned on the tarmac of the terminal.
“The officers requested to see the items before transferring them although the airway bill described the goods as fresh vegetables,” he stated.
However, the contents were later discovered to be assorted frozen products.
This he said made it obvious that the importers through their agents have already prepared a pre-release documentation purporting the imports to be fresh vegetables with the sole intention to evade the import prohibition order.
He said another consignment of 104 cartons comprising pork meat, beef and turkey was seen abandoned inside four dollies close to Gate 13 at about 005 hours the following morning.
He further revealed that the total duty paid for the two seizures was valued at N68.9 million.
He said: “The tarmac seizure is coming on the heel of other seizures recently made at the Cargo Wing.
“This clearly points to a possible shift of strategy by smugglers.
“Intelligence has suggested that our airports are now being considered as options.
“Though the commands are distinct administratively, we are still connected in our operations.”
He therefore said it is imperative for us to create a close working environment to ensure that criminals do not exploit divisions to perpetrate their business.
“I am glad to inform you that the close working relationship nurtured a smooth take off of the new Command.
“To ensure effective coverage of the tarmac, we conduct joint surveillance of the Tarmac Area, an action that resulted into the seizures for which we are briefing you,” he said.
Also speaking, Mrs Oyama said her command had intercepted 23 bags of stun guns, military uniforms, and 25 packages of drones.
She also disclosed that the revenue of the command has increased by 100.6 per cent of the expected revenue target.
According to her, “the MMIA Command generated a sum of N4.3 billion for the month of August.”
This figure she said represents 100.6 per cent of the expected revenue target for the month of August.
“For the month of September, the MMIA Command generated a total sum of N4.9 billion.
“This figure represents 115.6 per cent of the expected revenue target for the month of September 2019, exceeding the monthly target by N674 million,” she said.
On the seizures, she said the 25 packaged drones, 23 bags of stun guns, two packages of military uniform, walkie talkie, police jackets and mini cameras are in their custody.