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Customs Officials Seize More Than $1.5B Chinese Textiles in Nigeria

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The Nigeria Customs Service on Tuesday uncovered contraband textiles valued at 315.9 billion naira (or $1.58 billion) during a raid on 75 warehouses in Kano.

Comptroller-General of Customs Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde told local media that the seizure followed the earlier arrest of four Chinese nationals linked with smuggling textiles from China into the northern city. He said the operation was carried out by his office based on information received from “patriotic Nigerians” who believed illegal imports were being stored in as many as 26 private warehouses in Kano.

The entire haul will not be confiscated, however. Inde said that while inspecting the seizure, “We have seen those that can be allowed to enter the market. For those that are allowed, I am going to give amnesty; but for those that are not allowed, I will never go against the law. We will block all the leakages.”

A thorough screening will determine the contraband, which will then be distributed to internally displaced people in the Northeast of the country, and owners of genuine goods will be required to pay appropriate taxes.

“We are doing our best and they are doing their worst. Even if all the 170 million Nigerians are deployed to our borders, they cannot stop smuggling,” he said, according to Daily Trust, noting that customs officials, traders, local producers and customers need to work together to curb the tide of contraband goods coming into the country.

Thousands of local dyers recently took to the streets of Kano to protest the importation and sale of Chinese textiles. The Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association has said that around 85 percent of the country’s textile market today comprises illegal imports, mostly from China, and smuggling is costing the country about $325 million every year in lost customs duty and taxes.

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