Poultry products with duty paid value (DPV) of N1.27 billion have been destroyed by officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone C Owerri, Imo State.
Poultry products are some of the items contained in the Import Prohibition List (IPL) compiled by the Federal Government based on its fiscal policies and it is being enforced by the NCS to ensure compliance across the country. The service enforces the IPL in addition to the Export Prohibition List (EPL).
The items which were neatly arranged and packaged to avert the prying eyes of security operatives were in cartons of various shapes and sizes.
The Customs Area Controller, FOU, Zone â€˜Câ€™, Owerri, Imo State, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba who disclosed this while briefing the media said the destruction of the poultry products was in accordance government policy.
According to him, the seizures made by FOU Zone â€˜Câ€™ Owerri since he assumed duty in October 2016 would continue to be treated in line with the policies of the government.
He emphasized that poultry is still under IPL and any of such found will be seized and destroyed in compliance with the relevant laws and government policies.
He revealed that operatives of the FOU, Zone â€˜Câ€™, Owerri on April 19, 2017 intercepted 24,032 cartons of imported frozen poultry products with DPV of N259, 545, 600, conveyed in a Mack Truck with registration number AJL 861 XA along Benin Ekiadolor axis by Lagos Expressway, Edo State. The poultry items include turkey parts, chicken parts, poultry gizzard amongst others.
During the destruction of the seized poultry in the Edo State capital, Benin City, the Customs Chief stated that the seizures were achieved through the diligence of his officers and men, who have been encouraged to put in their best with the recent promotion of officers and men of the service by the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Ibrahim Hameed Ali (retired).
A statement issued by the service and signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), FOU, Zone C, Chioma Onuoha quoted the CAC reiterating the commitment of his officers to ensure that smuggling in any form is brought to a minimal level.
His words: â€œAs trained officers, in the course of our duty when we intercept any suspected goods and confirm it to be brought in contrary to the laws, it will be seized and disposed of. We will continue to make sure that the public is adequately informed so that importation will be done in conformity with the laws. This is one of the ways to curb the menace of smuggling.â€
He enjoined Nigerians not to patronize or import frozen poultry products as they adversely affect the nationâ€™s poultry industry and have been adjudged by health authorities to be injurious to health.
â€œWe have to encourage farmers and those in the agriculture sector to be productive, self-reliant, provide employment and boost the economy instead of sending out our foreign exchange and encouraging capital flightâ€, he said.
Garba disclosed that three suspects are in custody in connection with the recent seizures made in Benin City and they will be charged to court shortly.Â
He called on smugglers to shun such negative vices and engage in legitimate trade so as boost the nationâ€™s economy.
On hand to witness the destruction of the poultry products were representatives of other security agencies including the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Department of State Security (DSS), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC) and the media.