The Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service has made seizures of various contraband valued at over N869 million in January 2021.
Public Relations Officer of the Unit, Jerry Attah, in a statement, said that the seized items include 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.
The 1,046 bags of foreign rice were trailed and evacuated from an unnamed warehouse along Elelenwo Road, Port Harcourt, based on credible and timely intelligence, the Unit made known.
Head of the Unit, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal, was quoted as saying that “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 creek, waterside, and at various locations in south-south, south east zones, hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the month under review.”
The comptroller said it was more worrisome that 1,024 cartons of unregistered medicaments were imported from India without NAFDAC certification.
He said that: “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 emphasized.
“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).”
He warned that the Unit would be very ruthless with those he termed as “economic saboteurs.” And added that in view of the Unit’s responsibility to protect the nation’s economy, smugglers and prospective smugglers alike should be prepared for the battle ahead, as the Unit has no plans to leave any stone unturned.
The comptroller expressed appreciation for the existing cooperation among the Military, the Police and other security agencies, while thanking them media for supporting with informing and sensitizing the general public on the economic dangers of smuggling.