In an intensified effort to crumble the increasing rate of smuggling on the country’s waterways/land borders, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Compliance Team operatives under the leadership of Comptroller Ahmed Azarema, had impounded various items valued over N137,824,558.00.
Briefing newsmen at the weekend, in Benin, Comptroller Azarema warned smugglers that the team would not allow any perpetration of illegalities, and that it will surely be crushed in all the zones of the country.
While giving report of the team’s latest seizures which were made possible by the Zone ‘C’ Team, led by Assistant Comptroller Musa Oseni Ije, Comptroller Azarema disclosed that within the week under review, the Compliance Team, Benin Axis had pounced on smugglers hideouts and intercepted some valuables which include, Tramadol (New Royal) 22mg of 90 cartons which expiration date was July, 2017; Tramadol (Quick Action) 200mg of 400 cartons which has already expired in January, 2017 and Really Extra, 50mg of 165 cartons expired in July, 2017, all imported from India.
Azarema stated that the total number of the fake drug cartons seized is 655 and the total number of packs of the illicit drugs among the seized products is 175,000. So, the estimated Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the illicit drugs intercepted is N33, 429,000.00 made between September 1 and November 13, 2017.
The team also intercepted 2,280 cartons of frozen foods regarded as prohibited products with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N38,304,000.00; 200 cartons of croaker fish (used for concealment) worth N3,360,000.00.
According to him, two trucks with registration number KJA 314XX laden with 600 bags of foreign parboiled rice with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N15,300,000.00 technically disguised as building materials were intercepted. The second truck intercepted with registration number KRD 32 XJ carrying 200 bags of foreign parboiled rice was discovered to have the same concealment with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N5,100,000.00 was equally impounded. “ In total, 800 seizures of foreign parboiled rice worth N20,400,000.00 were intercepted” he said.
Azarema threatened to keep the smugglers in check until they are totally consumed from the society saying that with the Compliance Team’s continued onslaught against illegal transactions, the total seizures recorded so far between September 1, 2017 and November 13, 2017 stood at N95,493,000.00.
Comptroller Azarema noted that the five suspects involved in the act arrested, have been released on bail through the application tendered by their respective lawyers.
Fielding questions from the newsmen, National Coordinator said that, irrespective of their professional calling, the major driving force that gingers the dreaded Compliance Team to perform beyond reasonable doubt, is commitment.
“Our commitment is our watchword and focus. We have been doing it and we shall continue to do it better, to save the nation from economic woes” he said.
He advised the media and other stakeholders to use this platform to create more awareness to enlighten the youths of the dangers inherent in smuggling. Azarema used the occasion to appreciate the Controller General of Customs (CGC), Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) and the Management Team for their support and encouragement.
The CGC’s policy of eradicating smuggling from Nigeria would be achieved, he said, while handing over the drugs to the representative of National Food Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC).
Receiving the drugs, the representative of NAFDAC, Acting Director, Benin, Edo State, Mrs Esther Itua, confirmed that the drugs are not fit for consumption. She applauded the Compliance Team for their efforts in making it possible to discover the killer drugs. This, she said, would have saved millions of children and adults in the country from sudden death.
She added that her agency will take the drugs for further test and processing in other to ascertain the level of risk it portends.
However, the team’s Public Relations Officer, Inspector of Customs, Chado Zakari said 35 seizures were realized. This, he said, indicates that some luxury vehicles were detained whereby 13 Demand Notice (DN) were raised, while 19 were in detention and the total amount of Demand Notice (DN) paid is N11,310,558.00. However, other seizures recorded by Port Harcourt/Eleme, Asaba, 9th Mile, Calabar/Akwa Ibom and Ewu/Ibilo axis of the zone include: 3,600 cartons of tomato paste valued at N252,000.00; 145 bundles of 291 pieces of used tyres estimated at N2,329,000.00 etc.
30 bales of used secondhand clothing at N1,500.0; 886 bags of foreign parboiled rice value placed at N22,598,000.00; 655 cartons of counterfeit drugs of various brands illegally imported from India into the country was estimated at N33,429,000.00 as well as 2,480 cartons of poultry products of the sum of N41,664,000.00 which he pointed out is N137,824,558.00.