Despite the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Area 1 Command, Port Harcourt, said it raked over N16billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020.

The Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, disclosed this in Port Harcourt while giving updates of the Command’s activities between January and March this year. Mohammed explained that the figure indicated a surplus of N2.993billion above the N13.2billion generated by the Command same period in 2019.

The Comptroller said although the COVID-19 pandemic affected in no small measure revenue, and general port activities but expressed the hope that all economic activities would soon resume, and everything takes its normal shape following the Federal Government’s efforts to curb the dreaded virus.

He explained: “The difference in the revenue was as a result of ensuring that importers were made to pay the correct duty and all the clearance procedures were strictly complied with.

“We were also committed in placing of capable officers in conducting 100 per cent physical examination, which played a significant role during cargo clearance, as well as engaging all relevant stakeholders on regular interactive sessions.”

He added: “In the area of anti-smuggling activities, the Command made a seizure of 2x20ft containers declared as hand tools, however, on 100 per cent examination, it was discovered that the container also contained candle wax and tomato paste in retail packs.

“The consignment, which have been seized and forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria have a Duty Paid Value of N30.7million,” he disclosed .

Speaking further, Mohammed said: “In the first quarter of 2020, another seizure of 3x20ft containers of vegetable oil and margarine were made. 

The consignment which were declared as spraying pump for insecticide, has a Duty Paid Value of N19.6million.”

He expressed delight over the conduct of the Licensed Customs Agents, and the shipping line at the port, but however warned them against contravening trade regulation, as that will incur the wrath of the law.

The Comptroller further warned smugglers and unpatriotic citizens to stay clear of the port, stressing that the Command would not tolerate any act that will jeopardize the national security.