Some of the seized logs displayed at the Zone ‘C’ headquarters, Portharcourt on MonThe Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ (FOUC) has intercepted three trucks conveying six 6×20ft containers of logs of unprocessed timber.
This is contained in a release by the Zone ‘C’ Public Relations Officer, Mr Jerry Attah, made available to newsmen in Owerri on Monday.
The Zonal Coordinator for Zone ‘C’, Ag. ACG Olusemire Kayode displayed the intercepted items at the zonal headquarters, Port Harcourt, on Monday, parading two suspects arrested in connection to the seizure.
Kayode noted that the exportation of unprocessed timber contravenes schedule 6 of the Extant Common External Tariff (CET), adding that deforestation comes with negative effects such as desert encroachment and environmental degradation.
According to him, when tree felling is not checkmated, the ecosystem and its biodiversity are left to suffer.
He decried the economic loss brought upon Nigeria with the exportation of unprocessed logs, adding that employment creation which resulted from local processing of the logs was vital for the youth.
He commended the Controller of the FOUC Comptroller, Yusuf Lawal, and officers of the Unit for their resilience, doggedness and steadfastness in tackling smuggling.
Kayode however, cautioned against attacks on operatives while carrying out their legitimate duties.
“On July 16, at about 2.00 p.m., one of the surveillance teams of FOU Zone ‘C’, acting on credible intelligence trailed and intercepted three trucks conveying 6×20ft containers of logs of rough timber along Industrial Road, Port- Harcourt.
“We also arrested two suspected smugglers who were attempting to export the unprocessed logs but they have been released on administrative bail.
“Exportation of rough timber which contravenes schedule 6 of the extant CET comes with negative economic and environmental effects and must not be condoned,” he said.
Also speaking, Lawal said that the logs were about to be smuggled out of the country without clearance from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
The FOU ‘C’ controller gave the marks and numbers of the containers to include MSCU-3470637, MSDU-1497355, MEDU-9739916, MEDU-5627573, MSDU-6248794 and MEDU-6792783.
“NEPC is an agency of Government which takes note of products that are meant for exportation so that the proceeds can be repatriated accordingly.
“Unfortunately, NEPC is not aware of these logs and have not issued any Nigeria Export Proceeds form, further confirming, therefore, that the logs were about to be smuggled out,” he said.
He, however, urged Nigerians to assist the Service with relevant information to aid its activities for the general good of the country.