Customs FOU Zone ‘C’ Intercepts Unregistered Drugs, Rice, Others Worth N869Million

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ said it intercepted various contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N869,550,345.00 million in January 2021, in its renewed determination to combat smuggling within its jurisdiction.

Comptroller Yusuf Lawal conducting newsmen round the seized items

The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in owerri on Wednesday said the seized items include 1,024 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products, 1,046 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice, 290 cartons of imported Eva Soap, 62 jumbo bales of secondhand clothing, and one Toyota Corolla 2018 model vehicle.

According to Lawal, 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 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 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.

Comptroller Yusuf Lawal (right) displaying containers of contraband items

“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 are still on the Import Prohibition list, which falls under schedule 3 of Common External Tariff (CET).

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

The CAC appreciated the robust synergy that exists between the Customs, Military, Police, and other security agencies, while also thanking the media their continued support to inform, sensitize and educate the general public on the effects of smuggling to the nation’s economy.

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