Customs in Owerri on red alert !!!
* Intercepts 1,024 cartons of fake drugs from India
*Seizes contraband worth over N869.5million
(Report by Udeme Clement):
The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’, Owerri is on red lert, trailing the importers of 1,024 cartons of fake pharmaceutical products from India to Nigeria.
The Unit is also giving illicit traders operating within the hinter-land a tough time through its anti-smuggling onslaught.
The Unit just intercepted 1,024 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products and other prohibited items worth over N869.5million in Duty Paid Value (DPV).
This is coming just few weeks after the same Unit seized 5,200 live ammunition through intelligence.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, Comptroller Yusus Lawal Psc(+), disclosed this while addressing reporters on activities of the Unit.
He frowned, “More worrisome and of concern to us as enforcement arm of the Service is the interception of 1,024 cartons of unregistered Colcaps medicaments imported from India without NAFDAC certification.
“Our concern 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 wrong hands cannot be over emphasized.
“The drugs were intercepted along Ofosu-Benin Expressway based on shared intelligence.”
He went on, “From January 1- 31, 2021, the items seized include 1,046 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50kg each); 290 cartons of imported Eva Soap; 62 jumbo bales of secondhand clothes; one Toyota Corolla (2018 model), among other items.
“It will interest you to know that the 1,046 bags of rice were trailed and evacuated from an unnamed warehouse, along Elelenwo Road Portharcourt, based on credible and timely intelligence following appropriate operational procedures, rules of engagement and 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 Government Policy banning importation of rice through land borders. Also, following headquarters directive on same, we re-strategized our operational modalities and beam our searchlight at the Creeks, waterways and various locations in South/South, South/East zones, hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within one month.”
The CAC stated, “ Equally, the 290 cartons of soap were intercepted along Aba-Owerri Road based on intelligence.
“Recall that Soaps and detergents are still on Import Prohibition list, which falls under schedule 3 of Common External Tariff (CET)”.
Comptroller Yusuf assured that the Unit will continue to make sure smugglers within its areas of jurisdiction count their losses, until they repent from sabotaging the nation’s economy.
His words, “We are resolute in our strategies to degrade the activities of smugglers through aggressive patrol of all 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 Government.
” In view of this, unrepentant smugglers should be battle-ready, as we will leave no stone unturned in our effort to up the ante of our anti-smuggling mandate. No level of resistance from smugglers and their mob accomplices will deter us from performing our statutory responsibilities of suppressing smuggling within our zones.”
On the whole, the CAC appreciated the robust synergy existing among the Military, Police, other security agencies and Customs operatives in Zone ‘C’, even as he thanked the media for continuous support in informing the public on the effects of smuggling to the nation’s economy.