The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’, Owerri, Imo State, said it intercepted various contraband with a duty paid value (DPV) of N869.550 million in January 2021, in its renewed determination to combat smuggling within its jurisdiction.
According to a statement issued by the unit’s Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah on behalf of the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal after briefing newsmen in Owerri, said the seized items include 1,024 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products, 1,046 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, 290 cartons of imported Eva soap, 62 jumbo bales of secondhand clothing, and one Toyota Corolla 2018 model vehicle.
Lawal said 1,046 bags of foreign parboiled rice were trailed and evacuated from an unnamed warehouse along Elelenwo Road, Port Harcourt, based on credible and timely intelligence, following laid 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.
“As you all know, it is 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-strategized our operational modalities and beam our searchlight at the creeks, waterside, and at various locations in South-South, South-East zones and hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the month under review.
“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 overemphasised,” he said.
He revealed that the drugs were intercepted along Ofosu-Benin expressway, while the 290 cartons of soap were intercepted along Aba-Owerri road, all based on shared intelligence, noting that soaps and detergents were still on the import prohibition list, under Schedule 3 of Common External Tariff.
He said that the unit would continue to make sure smugglers within its areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging the economy.
The CAC appreciated the robust synergy between the Customs, the military, police, and other security agencies, while also thanking the media for their continued support to inform, sensitize and educate the general public on the effects of smuggling on the nation’s economy.