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Nigeria Customs To Impound 29 Private Jets Owned By Wealthy Persons, Organisations |The Republican News

On May 31, Customs announced its plan to verify import documents of privately-owned airplanes in the country.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has threatened to impound 29 private jets over nonpayment of statutory import duties.

This was contained in the report on the verification of privately-owned airplanes in the country released by NCS on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Customs’ spokesman, Mr Joseph Attah, during a news conference noted that the 29 airplanes would be impounded if the owners did not show up at the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum given.

On May 31, Customs announced its plan to verify import documents of privately-owned airplanes in the country.

The exercise took place between June 7 and August 6 at the Tariff and Trade Department of the Service.

Customs Service in June read the riot act to private aircraft owners, warning those who have yet to bring their documents for verification to do so before the expiration of the grace period on July 6, or risk having their private jets impounded.

Within the stipulated period, 86 private jet or airplane operators showed up for the exercise and presented relevant documents for verification, according to Attah

He explained that 57 of them were verified as commercial charter operators and duly cleared for operations, PM News reports.

According to him, the 29 private jet/airplane owners and/or their representatives were issued with demand notices on October 11 and given 14 days to make payments to designated Nigerian government accounts.

Attah stressed that Aircraft Clearance Certificates will be issued after payment.

“Owners of private aircraft for which no presentations were made for verification, and whose status remains uncertain are requested to immediately furnish Customs Service with documents for verification and clearance.

“To this effect, all 57 commercial charter jets or aircraft operators who presented their documents for verification are requested to come to the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters, Abuja, to collect their clearance certificates.

“All 29 private jets/aircraft owners and or their representatives who have been issued with demand notices have 14 days from October 11 to collect and make payments to the designated Federal Government accounts.

“They will be issued with Aircraft Clearance Certificates after payment.

“I implore all concerned to avail themselves of this opportunity, as Customs would not hesitate to activate enforcement procedures on identified defaulters.

“The Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria had been put on notice to ensure that only privately-owned airplanes cleared by Customs were allowed to operate within the country’s airspace,” Attah said. (Sahara Reporters)

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Officers Held As Customs Seize 661 Riffles In Lagos |The Republican News

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Samson Folarin

The Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service, has intercepted a container loaded with 49 boxes of 661 pump-action rifles along the Mile 2 Apapa Road of Lagos State.

The 40-foot container, which was cleared at the Lagos port, was intercepted by Customs officials who were on patrol.

The officials were said to have discovered that although the manifest said the container had “steel doors and other merchandise goods,” boxes of the weapons were concealed deep in the container.

Our correspondent was told that the rifles, tagged, ‘JOJEFF made in Italy,’ could take up to 10 cartridges and could wreak a lot of havoc.

Other items found in the container were diapers, office cabinet, towels, mattresses, soft drinks, toiletries, among others.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), during a press conference on Monday at the FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, said the container came from China, but was routed through Turkey to “cause confusion.”

He explained that three suspects, Oscar Okafor (importer), Mahmud Hassan (clearing agent) and Sadique Mustapha (escort) had been arrested.

He said the suspects were undergoing interrogations at the agency’s office and would not be paraded until their culpability was established.

He said, “On Sunday, January 22, 2017, the roving team of the NCS, Federal Operations Unit, while on information patrol intercepted a Mack truck with number plate, BDG 265 XG, conveying a one by 40-foot container with number: PONU/825914/3 along Mile 2 Apapa Road.

“The truck was immediately taken to the premises of FOU Zone A, Ikeja, where physical examination revealed 49 boxes containing a total of 661 pieces of pump action rifles concealed with steel doors and other merchandise goods. In the declaration of the items in the container, the importer concealed the weapons and declared them as still doors.

“These rifles are under absolute prohibition; therefore, their importation is illegal. The importation and transaction of pump-action is totally against the law of this nation.

“Such a deadly contravention of the law is even more unacceptable considering the fragile security situation in some parts of the country. We have kidnappers and armed robbers and there is insurgency, it is more intense. There are also the cattle rustlers, who are also using the same weapon. So, they are deadly.”

Ali explained that investigations had commenced into how the truck escaped the vigilance of Customs officers at the port, adding that all officers involved in the clearance were in detention.

He noted that the importer, exporter, escort, officials of the agency and others, would be prosecuted at the end of investigations.

Ali called for vigilance among residents, saying it was important that people shared information with security agencies on the movement of suspicious items.

He said, “One of the important roles we play is the security of Nigerians. And the only way we can do this is to ensure that things like this don’t get into the country. Where they find their way in, we must ensure the importers don’t enjoy the illegality. This is why our men are all over the place.

“However, we need the assistance of the public because these things do happen. Imagine if this truck had escaped and had been offloaded by some people. They will be transferred and if we don’t get information, there is no way we can apprehend them. In the end, you and I will be affected by this. It could fall into the hand of an armed robber or a kidnapper and there will be problem.

“This is why the security network of this country must involve everybody. We must ensure we give the prerequisite information. Without information, we won’t be able to do anything. This happened because we got information and our men acted promptly.”

Ali described the seizure as one of the biggest feats the agency had recorded in 2017, promising to reward the officials who carried out the operation.

While fielding questions from journalists, Ali admitted that there were problems with the nation’s scanners at the borders.

He said most of the scanners were faulty, adding that the agency was working towards resolving the problem.

He said, “We have problems with the scanners. Most of the scanners are not working. We realised that while a few of them can be repaired, majority are bad. And I need not tell you that paucity of funds has been part of the problems. But you will start seeing changes as we are working hard to resolve the problem.” (Punchng.com)

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