The Apapa Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service has impounded a 40-feet container laden with 2,700 cartons of Tilapia frozen fish valued at N22 million.
Controller of the command, Comptroller Jibril Umar while briefing newsmen in Lagos yesterday, said the container laden with frozen fish which was imported into the country from Turkey was falsely declared to contain apples.
He said the false declaration was discovered upon the scanning of the container.
He explained that the imported fish species falls under the federal government fish import prohibition list, adding that importers of allowable species of fish are expected to obtain licence and permit as well as necessary quota before such importation into the country.
“As part of our collective resolve to ensure strict compliance with government import prohibition rule, we recently uncovered an attempt to smuggle Tilapia frozen 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 Tilapia frozen fish from Turkey. The aforementioned fish species is under restriction,” he said.
The customs boss said a suspect had been arrested in connection with the seizure while investigation ha commenced to “bring other accomplices to book”.
He said the command has also opened communication with the Agricultural and Plant Quarantine Service and the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) for laboratory checks.
He assured that the command will continue to frustrate attempts by unscrupulous importers to breach the laws on importation and exportation.
It would be recalled that the federal government had vowed to clamp down on illegal fish importers.
Last week, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture said anyone found importing frozen fish without license from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the ministry risked a five- year jail term or fine of $250, 000 or both.
It may be recalled that a container load of 661 pump action rifles illegally imported into Nigeria in January was also shipped into the country from Turkey.
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