Customs Seizes Drugs, Others Worth N869m at Owerri

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Eromosele Abiodun

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’, Owerri, said it intercepted various contrabands with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N869.55 million between January 1st- 31st, 2021.

The Area Comptroller, Yusus Lawal said the seized items included 1,024 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products, 1,046 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each, 290 cartons of imported Eva Soap, 62 jumbo bales of secondhand clothing, and one Toyota Corolla 2018 model (see annex ‘A’ for ease of reference).

“It will interest you to know that the 1,046 bags of Foreign parboiled rice were trailed and evacuated from an unnamed warehouse along Elelenwo Road Portharcourt based on credible and timely intelligence, following lay down operational procedures, rules of engagement and ensued professionalism backed by section 147 and 151 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004,” he said.

He added, “As you all know, it’s our responsibility to ensure full implementation of the government policy banning the importation of rice through land borders and following headquarters directive on same, we re-strategised our operational modalities and beam our searchlight at the creek, water side, and at various locations in south-south, south-east zones and hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the month under review.”

He further stated that, “More worrisome and of concern to us as an enforcement arm of the Service was the interception of the 1,024 cartons of unregistered Colcaps medicaments imported from India without NAFDAC certification.
“Our concern now is to unravel those behind the importation, their accomplices and their antics of scaling through unapproved routes.

“The negative effects of unlicensed drugs if gotten to the wrong hands cannot be over emphasised. The drugs were intercepted along Ofosu-Benin Expressway based on shared intelligence.
“Equally, the 290 cartons of soap were intercepted along Aba-Owerri Road based on intelligence.
“You may recall that Soaps and detergents are still on the Import Prohibition list, which falls under schedule 3 of Common External Tariff (CET)”

Comptroller Yusuf assured that the Unit will continue to make sure smugglers within its areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging the Nigerian economy.

“Our resolute remains to degrade the activities of smugglers through aggressive patrol of all flanks and flashpoints. We will be very ruthless with these economic saboteurs because we have a responsibility to protect the nation’s economy in line with the expectations of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“In view of this, I wish to advise and warn smugglers and would be smugglers to be prepared for the battle ahead because we will leave no stone unturned in our effort to up the ante of our anti-smuggling mandate.
“There is no amount of resistance from the smugglers and their mob accomplices that will deter us from performing our statutory responsibilities by suppressing smuggling within our zones, ”he stated.

He appreciated the robust synergy that exists among the Military, the Police, other security agencies and equally thanked members of the media for the continued support to inform, sensitise and educate the general public on the effects of smuggling to the nation’s economy.