From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced the interception of various contrabands with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N869.6 million between January 1 and 31, 2021.
Compt. Yusuf Lawal, who addressed the media in Owerri, Imo State, Wednesday, listed the seized items to include 1,024 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products, 1,046x50kg foreign parboiled rice, 290 cartons of imported Eva Soap, 62 jumbo bales of secondhand clothing and one Toyota Corolla 2018.
“The 1,046 bags of foreign rice were trailed to and evacuated from an unnamed warehouse along Elelenwo Road in Port Harcourt based on credible and timely intelligence, pursuant to sections 147 and 151 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004,” a statement from the Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah, quoted Lawal to say.
“It is our responsibility to ensure full implementation of the government policy banning the importation of rice through land borders. Therefore, we restrategised and beamed searchlight at the creeks, waterside and various locations in South-South and South East zones, hence the massive rice seizure within the month.
“More worrisome to us as an enforcement arm of the service was the interception of the 1,024 cartons of unregistered Colcap medicaments imported from India without NAFDAC certification.
“Our concern now is to unravel those behind the importation, their accomplices and antics of scaling unapproved routes. The negative effects of unlicensed drugs, if they get to the wrong hands, cannot be overemphasised.
“The drugs were intercepted along Ofosu-Benin Expressway based on shared intelligence, just as the 290 cartons of soap intercepted along the Aba-Owerri Road. Soaps and detergents are still in the import prohibition list (Schedule 3 of Common External Tariff”
Nevertheless, Lawal assured that the unit would continue to check smugglers within the jurisdiction, adding: “Our resolve remains to degrade the activities of smugglers through aggressive patrol of all flanks and flashpoints.
“We will be very ruthless with these economic saboteurs because we have a responsibility to protect the nation’s economy, in line with the expectations of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“In view of this, I wish to advise and warn smugglers and would-be smugglers to be prepared for the battle ahead because we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to up our anti-smuggling mandate.
“There is no amount of resistance from the smugglers and their mob accomplices that will deter us from performing our statutory responsibilities by suppressing smuggling within our zone.”