- The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday said that seized containers of rice, tramadol and unregistered pharmaceutical products, with duty paid value of N2,713,865,051.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) gave the figure at the presentation of the seized items in Lagos. He said that the seizure represented one of the many gains of the ongoing partial closure of the nation’s land borders.
According to him, the seizure which was perfected by the TinCan Island Port Command of NCS involved 33 containers of rice, one container of rice concealed with spare parts and eleven containers of unregistered pharmaceutical products.
Ali said that the seized items also included two containers of used tyres, one container of used clothing and four containers of refined vegetable oil. He added that the total number of containers was 54, comprising 15 by 40-feet and 39 by 20-feet. He said that all the seizures were in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act.
He praised NCS officers in Tincan Island Port Command for collecting revenue amounting to N286,742,551,443 since January.
“It is well known that the Nigerian Customs Service is leading other security agencies in joint operations code-named ‘Ex Swift Response’ being coordinated by the office of the National Security Adviser.
“NCS, Nigeria Immigration Service, in collaboration with the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Nigerian Police Force and operatives of the Intelligence Agencies, are effectively ensuring the ongoing partial closure of the nation’s land borders.
“Since the inception of the exercise, remarkable seizures have been recorded across the various areas of our operations. It is also a known fact that the partial closure of the land borders has resulted in the diversion of some cargo back to our seaports, and this has enabled seizure of unwholesome products which otherwise would have been smuggled through the borders,” he said.
The customs boss said that the seized bags of rice were either expired or about to expire.
“The service has raised alarm and drew the attention of the general public to the fact that most of the imported bags of rice are expired. The service had also in the past highlighted the rangers of the use of tramadol and had seized and kick-started the destruction of over N14 billion worth of tramadol recently.
“It is unfortunate that those who imported these dangerous items do not wish us well. Imagine if they had succeeded in getting the expired rice in, re-bag and change the expiration date for Nigerians to consume.
“The grave consequences of consuming these rice and the dreaded tramadol can only be imagined than experienced.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me restate the resolve of NCS and sister agencies to secure our land borders from such dangerous items. This is a red alert on all entry and exit points in Nigeria,” he said.
Ali said that he had directed a thorough investigation to bring to justice, all those connected with the imports.
The pharmaceutical products include chloroquine phosphate 20mg tabs, Hyergra 120, Artesam, Vitamin B complex injection, Comefwn Forte and others.