The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) on Wednesday said it had intercepted pharmaceutical products suspected to be unfit for human consumption and other contraband suspected to have been smuggled from India
The products, which were seized by NCS’s operatives in Zone C Benin, were valued at N94.7m.
The Comptroller of Customs, Abubakar Azarema, who is also the National Coordinator, Comptroller-General of Customs’ Compliance Team, announced this to newsmen in Benin.
Azarema said that 1,149 cartons of the unidentified pharmaceutical products were smuggled into the country through Lagos ports.
He said the drugs were unverified by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and were suspected to be unfit for consumption.
He, however, said that the NCS was particular about safeguarding the health of Nigerians.
The comptroller handed over the pharmaceutical products to Godwin Tonwuru, the NAFDAC State Coordinator in Edo, where they were intercepted.
He said that the service would not relent in the fight against smugglers.
He, however, advised importers to always respect the rules by importing legal and approved items.
Azarema urged importers to always apply for approval from relevant authorities before importing goods.
Tonwuru expressed the agency’s appreciation over the NCS’s synergy in the fight against drugs not certified for human consumption.
In a separate development, the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, Lagos, has intercepted contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N200.99 million between June and July.
The Controller of the unit, Mohammed Garba, said this at a news conference on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to Garba, the unit through its interventions, recovered N28.95 million duty payments and Demand Notices on general goods that tried to outsmart customs officers at seaports, airport and border stations.
He said the amount (N28.95m) was recovered after wrong classification, transfer of value and short-change in duty payment.
“This makes it another spectacular breakthrough in anti-smuggling operations under my watch.
“Fifteen suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures.
“Within this period, 40 different seizures were recorded comprising vegetable oil, foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, smuggled vehicles, medicament, used tyres and general merchandise.
“You will agree with me that the fight against smuggling can only be won if all hands are on deck,’’ the controller said.
He said, “The commitment, doggedness, resilience and diligence of the officers and men of the FOU in foiling the antics of smugglers who used different methods for concealment could not be over-emphasised.’’
Garba recalled that recently, the unit intercepted 1,442 cartoons of drugs (Tramadol 225/120mg) in a container and a MAN Diesel truck with Registration No RRU 513 XA along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
“Only God knows what could have happened if these drugs get to the wrong hands.
“In the spirit of inter-agency relationship, the drugs will be handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) today for further investigation.
“Following series of infraction on some of the containers intercepted based on information, we have seized seven containers that contravened customs law by means of false declaration and breach of import prohibition list,” the controller said.
According to Garba, the act of false declaration falls under Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) 2004, which was tantamount to outright seizure.
“Just yesterday (Tuesday), we intercepted a DAF Truck with Registration No. DAL 543 ZX, carrying 1,200 cartoons of smuggled poultry products along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“Similarly, a Container No. BOMU 588006/6 conveying 400 bales of second hand clothing was also seized,’’ Garba said.
He expressed appreciation to the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali and the management of the service for their relentless efforts in putting round pegs in round holes.
The controller also thanked the management of the NCS for providing incentives and logistics that brought about the feat.
Garba urged the media and the general public to provide necessary intelligence which could assist the service.
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