The Federal Operations Unit, FOU Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted various items of contraband worth N12.7billion between January and April 2020.
The Unit also intercepted a vehicle with Covid-19 sticker used for smuggling frozen chicken into the country from Benin Republic.
A statement made available to Vanguard by the Unit’s Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah, said the vehicle was arrested along Ijebu Ode Expressway.
The CAC said, “the officers were professional enough to intercept the vehicle which was believed to be used in the movement of essential commodities for the COVID-19 emergencies but was surprise to see that it was containing the contraband.
However, speaking on the activities of the command since this year he said contraband goods worth N12.7 billion were intercepted from smugglers between January and April 2020
Losses over ports closure in Rivers
Meanwhile, operators and users of the Rivers and Onne Ports have raised the alarm over loss of their investments and perishable consignments over the crises in the ports following the arrest of port workers by the Rivers State COVID-19 task force.
The state government had imposed a 24-hour lockdown on Port Harcourt and Obia/Akpor local government areas over the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation which effectively blocked port workers from the port services.
This is contrary to the guidelines of the presidential task force of COVID-19 which classified port operations as essential services.
Daniel Kalu, Managing Director of Africa Atlantic International Agencies, said the vessel transporting his consignment of 4,500 metric tons of frozen mackerel fish worth millions of euros have been unable to berth at the Rivers Port for about two weeks now, a situation which he said could make his company lose the entire consignment.
“Even if we get the consignment out now, we already would have lost half of our investment because the fish has lost quality and we won’t be able to sell at the standard price,” he said.
“That is not to speak of the demurrage that we must pay to ship owners for keeping their vessels longer than expected. We pay a demurrage of 7800 US dollars per day.”
A vessel laden with a consignment of Muriate of Potash, (blended with urea and other compounds to make fertilizer)) is unable to berth at the Onne Ports as a result of the same situation.
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) had threatened a nationwide protest over arrest of 20 dockworkers in the state who were said to have violated the lockdown order by venturing to go to work.