From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Friday handed over 4,907 cartons of seized expired sweets and chocolates valued at N23.7 million to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for further actions.
Arrested in connection with the unwholesome confectionery was a suspect that drove the truck that conveyed the goods.
The Commander of Comptroller-General of Customs’ Strike Force, Mr Hussein Ejibunu, while handing over the poisonous items and suspect to NAFDAC officials in Karu, Abuja, revealed that the truck was intercepted in Abaji, along Lokoja-Abuja highway on December 16, 2020.
According to him, the seized items, which had no NAFDAC certification and expiring date, were said to have been manufactured in India and Pakistan based on preliminary investigation conducted by the Service.
The Commander gave the breakdown of the seized items as 4,882 cartons of Deluxe Toffees sweet and 25 cartons of Jolly Boy Chewy Lollipop.
He said: “In the spirit of inter agency collaboration, it behooves on us to do this and hand it over to the appropriate agency.
“It is our primary responsibility of making sure that the Federal Government’s fiscal policies are followed accordingly.
“From our investigation, these items have no NAFDAC numbers which means they are capable of creating health hazards for Nigerians. We all know that things that are not certified by NAFDAC could be harmful.
“We are doing everything possible to curtail the activities of smugglers. If you talk of smuggling, there are still smart people who use dubious ways to escape the watch-and- check of Customs.
“Like this one, they must have followed unapproved routes, thank God we have our men on the road who intercepted them” he explained.
Mr Fori Tatama, NAFDAC’s Director of Planning, Research and Strategies who received the items on behalf of the Director-General, Prof Moji Adeyeye thanked the NCS for the robust collaboration.
Tatama noted that the development highlights the importance of collaboration and synergy among agencies of government.
He lauded the effort and commitment of the present head of Customs in addressing smuggling in the country.
He pledged that after the NAFDAC’s further investigation, the culprit would be prosecuted accordingly.