A 40-foot container loaded with 2,700 cartons of frozen Tilapia, valued at N22 million, has been confiscated by the Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Jibril Umar said.
Imported from Turkey, the specie is under government’s fish import restriction list and was falsely declared as apples but detected by the scanner, Umar told newsmen in Lagos, adding that the suspect has been arrested while other accomplices were yet to be unmasked.
If convicted, the suspect could spend five years behind bars, pay $250,000 or both for importing frozen fish without license from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to Umar, there are allowable species, provided the importer obtains licence, permit and other necessary things before importation.
He stated: “We recently uncovered an attempt to smuggle frozen Tilapia fish into the country.
“In a bid to evade detection and arrest, the importer made a false declaration that the container was laden with apples, but upon scanning, we discovered this to be untrue as the container contained 2,700 cartons of frozen Tilapia from Turkey. The aforementioned fish species is under restriction.”
Meanwhile, Umar said the command was in talks with the Agricultural and Plant Quarantine Service and the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for laboratory checks.