The Apapa Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted seven containers of pharmaceutical products imported into the country from China over false declaration.
Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Musa Jibrin who took journalists round the seized cargoes in Lagos yesterday said that the importer documentation showed Cimetidine drug but upon examination, it was discovered that the containers contained different pharmaceutical products.
He said the drugs Newdol, Original, Ivixagrip and Really extral among others were not certified by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“Officers were able to discover the pharmaceutical products as a result of 100 per cent examination being carried out by the command.
“The intercepted drugs are not carrying the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and we having false declaration that is why the command intercepted the seven containers at the same time.
Jibrin said that the interception was successful due to the collaboration and interagency relationship between customs and other sister agencies.
He urged stakeholders to always engage in honest declaration to enable Nigeria meet up with the international standards of the global community.
Responding, Assistant Director, NAFDAC, Oluyemi Ogunrinde, commended the effort of Customs and solicited more robust collaboration to curtail illicit importation into the country.
“NAFDAC will carry on further investigation on the consignment and we will get back to customs on our findings,” Ogunrinde said.
In a separate development, the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted various contraband items including 384 parcels of Indian hemp smuggled into the country from Ghana with a duty paid value of N334 million.
Other items impounded include two containers loaded with 4982 pieces of used tyres, 1292 pieces of general calcium vehicle batteries and piston ring compressor falsely declared as auto parts and 6356 bags of rice concealed with plastic take-away plates.
Similarly, the unit through interventions recovered N273 million from duty payments and demand notices on general goods that tried to beat the system from seaports and borders in the guise of false declaration and short change in duty payment making a cumulative of N607.7 million.
Controller of the unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba while conducting journalists round the seizures at the customs warehouse in Ikeja yesterday said the seizures were made within a month when he took over the leadership of the unit.
Uba explained that apart from items which are prohibited from coming into the country, most of the goods impounded were as a result of false declaration and concealment adding that so far, 10 suspects had been arrested in connection with the seizures.
“All these goods were seized because they contravened the importation laws by way of bringing something not allowed to come in while others use goods that are dutiable but they put in goods that are not allowed and by our law, when you cover goods that are not allowed to come with goods that are allowed both goods are seized by the government,” he said.
While handing over the seized drugs to the official of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Lawal Isiaka, Uba said the Indian hemp were intercepted along Iyana Ipaja in Lagos based on information adding that they were concealed inside bales of second hand clothing.
“These are six bales of second hand clothing intercepted along Iyana Ipaja in Lagos. It was in the process of our officers searching and checking that they find this drug. After intensive examination, they are found to be Indian hemp, (cannabis sativa). So it was in the spirit of interagency relationship, we are handing this over to NDLEA. All of us must collaborate to making sure that we have a crime free society,” he said.
Uba advised those still engaging in smuggling to desist from such illegal trade warning that the unit will continue to work in collaboration with other security agencies to bring down the nefarious activities of smugglers to the barest minimum.
He said the unit is also working with border commands to set up customs community relation committee with the village heads and stakeholders in order to educate members of their community against the menace of smuggling.
Uba expressed appreciation to the management team of the Service for the motivation and provision of logistics saying that without the support, the feat would not have been achieved.
Other items seized by the unit include vehicles, cartons of frozen poultry products, vegetable oil and other general goods.
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