Nigeria Customs impounds 31 containers of rice in Lagos

David Adekunle, Lagos

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has impounded 31 containers of rice that was illegally imported into the country.

The market value of the items which were seized at the Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), Lagos, is yet to be determined.

Briefing journalists at the venue of the seizure, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Col Hameed Ali who was represented by a Deputy Comptroller-General ( DCG) Dan Ugo said the items were shipped into the country from China.

Mr Ugo said that the importer wanted to short-change the government by declaring the items as yeast in his bill of laden.

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He explained that yeast importation, attracts five per cent duty, while rice attracts 110 per cent duty and 60 per cent levy.

“For falsifying his document and wanting to cheat the government, the Comptroller-General has therefore, declared that over 40, 000 bags of rice inside the containers as outright seizure without any option of payment for the importer.

The measure, was applied to serve as deterrent to other scrupulous importers operating at the nation’s sea ports and border stations”

Investigation revealed that some of the container number in which the  rice were shipped into the country through the MAERSK LINE include the following: MSKU: 410819 (6) 22 G1, MSKU: 711125 (4) 22 G1, PONU: 033850 (2) 22 G1, MSKU: 339624 (6) 22 G1, MSKU: 753283 (9) 22 G1, PONU: 205422 (8) 22 G1,  MRKU: 857850 (8) 22 G1, PONU:000208 (2) 22 G1, MSKU: 763801 (3) 22 G1, MSKU: 365294 (4) 22 G1, GATU: 054746 (6) 22 G1, MRKU: 715521 (9) 22 G1, MSKU: 741347 (0) 22G1, PONU: 044185(0) 22 G1, CLHU: 30353322 (7) G1, ZIMU: 129944 (6) 22 G1, MRKU: 731946 (2) 22 G1, MSKU: 788942 (5) 22 G1, MRKU: 654641 (4) 22 G1, MSKU: 521748 (4) 22 G1, MSKU: 405022 (1) 22G1, MSKU: 206425 (2) 22 G1, MRKU: 729473 (9) 22 G1, MRKU: 986083 (5) 22 G1, MRKU: 681160 (5) 22 G1, MAEU: 679395 (3) 22 G1, MRSU: 026634 (2) 22 G1,  PONU: 01906722 G1, MRKU:777063 (0) 22G1 and MRSU: 015690 (0) 22G1

He said that the rice laden containers were ferried by Maersk Line vessel to Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT) at the port.

While bemoaning the situation where the importer deliberately made false declaration in a bid to evade duty, the CGC restated that the era of false declaration and debit note was over.

He said importers with false declaration of imports would be punished by the government.

“We have told clearing agents and importers to do genuine declaration. We are all talking of trade facilitation at port and some importers are busy abusing the system,” he said.