The Ogun State Customs Area Command says five foreign nationals have been arrested, while six trucks of unprocessed woods felled illegally across forests in Ogun State and being transported to Benin Republic have been impounded.
The new Area Comptroller of Customs in Ogun State, Mr Waindu Multafu, made the disclosure while parading the seized goods neatly packed inside the trucks before journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The Customs said that smuggling of unprocessed wood remains a serious offense punishable under the Nigerian Law.
According to the new Area Comptroller, about 1,035 bags of rice have also been seized from smugglers across border towns in the state.
He, however, admonished genuine businessmen and women in the state to always patronize genuine Customs and licensed agents in their business dealing in order to improve government revenue for socio economic development.
The Ogun State Customs Command says it has intercepted and seized 359 parcels of substance believed to be cannabis sativa (indian hemp), stocked into 90 sacks with duty value of over nine million naira along the Imeko border town of Ogun State, south-west Nigeria.
Handing over the substance to its National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) counterpart, the Ogun State Area Comptroller of Customs, Haruna Mahmud, reiterated the commitment of the command in its anti-smuggling drive, in order to reduce smuggling activities to the barest minimum.
While sounding a note of warning to smugglers along the Ogun border posts, the Area Comptroller asked for more synergy and cooperation among security agencies in combating crime in the state.
In its revenue generation drive, Mr Mahmud said that over two billion naira has been generated in the first four months of the 2015 fiscal year, while 361 seizures with duty paid value of over 300 million naira was recorded by the command.
The leadership of the Southeast Amalgamated Market Traders Association, Importers and various Stakeholders have decried the hardship suffered by its members in the hands of Nigerian Customs Service since December 2013.
In a press conference, the President-General of the association, Okwudili Ezenwankwo, announced a ten day ultimatum to the Customs Service to release goods belonging to Southeast traders held at the various ports across the country or have all the traders in the Southeast embark on a protest march.
The traders at the press conference also complained bitterly that they had been unable to take delivery of their consignments and when they did, they paid billions of Naira as demurrage and terminal charges.
They also complained of Customs’ inability to issue Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR, to importers within 48 hours when they take over from the Destination Inspection Service Providers, a process which should be within two to three days but now takes sixty days.
The traders expressed fears that their goods may be auctioned due to the congestion building up at the various ports.
Some of the traders also accused the officers of the Owerri Customs Service of extortion and other unwholesome activities.
The Association called on the Federal Government to urgently set up an independent committee to visit all the ports for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation, for the purpose of decongestion and also reconsider the reappointment of Destination Inspection Service Providers.
Reacting to the accusations, the Area Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, Owerri, Dimka Victor David, under whose jurisdiction the southeast traders fall, maintained that genuine traders have no problem with the Nigerian Customs Service.