The Customs Compliance Team, Ogun State axis, set up by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali has intercepted and destroyed 3,563 cartons of banned chicken valued at N19.2 million.
This is part of ongoing efforts to sustain its campaign on decimating and degrading the activities of smugglers of foreign poultry products.
The team leader, Shittu Almaroof, Assistant Comptroller of Customs, told journalists that the confiscations were effected between 18th and 23rd March, 2016, along the Sagamu-Ijebu Ode Expressway.
According to him, a patrol team led by Chief superintendent of Customs, Aminu Umar, had laid siege on the smugglers through intelligence provided by informants that were contracted to monitor the nefarious activities of some individuals who are experts in smuggling the product in bits and storing same at secret locations before ferrying them to different parts of the country.
He confirmed that the heat is on these unpatriotic Nigerians, hence their attempt to devise unwholesome means to circumvent fiscal policies of the federal government, stressing that there is a compelling need for the service to remain proactive in ensuring enforcement of the federal governments’ fiscal policy as regards frozen poultry products.
Almaroof stated that what is more fundamental is the need to protect the heavy investments of Nigerians in the agro-based industries, in view of their capacity to generate employment for teeming unemployed youths.
He pointed out that these investors need to be encouraged in view of their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), maintaining that beyond the need to protect the local poultry farmers, there was also the issue of its health implications which he noted is very critical.
“It is on record that NAFDAC had assembled specialists in nutritional enzymologist, food technologists and others to carry out a comprehensive research on the health implications of consumption of these products. Samples were taken from major markets in Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Ibadan and Kano. The result revealed that the continuous consumption of these banned products is hazardous to health,” he said.
He further noted that the Nigeria Customs Service as an enforcement agency cannot fold its arms and allow these products into the country.
Answering questions on why these products are still seen in some markets, he likened it to the period when the service was waging war on smuggled fruit juice. He noted that it was a herculean task then, but the service remained resilient and that is why in the markets today, the psyche of Nigerians have changed from drinking foreign fruit juice to locally produced ones.
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