BY EMMANUEL MGBEAHURIKE, Owerri
Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone “C” Owerri, Imo state has intercepted and seized 1,046 bags of 50 kilograms of parboiled foreign rice, 1,024 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products, 290 cartons of imported eva soap, 62 jumbo bales of second hand clothing and one 2018 model Toyota Corolla worth Duty Paid Value of N869,550,345.00.
It was gathered that the seizure was made by the command between January 1st to 31st, 2021.
Briefing Newsmen on Wednesday in Owerri, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal stated that the bags of foreign rice were trailed and evacuated from an unknown warehouse along Elelenwo road in Port Harcourt.
He said that the trailing was based on credible and timely intelligence following lay down operational procedures, rules of engagement and ensued professionalism backed by Section 147 and 151 of the Customs and Exercise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004.
His words, “As you all know, it is our responsibility to ensure full implementation of the government policy banning the importation of rice through land border and following headquarters directive on same, we re-strategized our operational modalities and beam our search light at the creeks, water side and at various locations in South south, Southeast zones and hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the month under review”.
Lawal further stated that the eagle eye of our operatives confiscated 1,024 cartons of unregistered colcaps medicaments imported from India without National Agency for Foods, Drug and Administration and Control certification.
He said, “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”.
Lawal however, said that the drugs were intercepted along Oforun-Benin expressway based on intelligence report.
He did not omit to say that the 290 cartons of foreign eva soap were intercepted along Aba-Owerri road following a tip- off.
He added that soaps and detergents were still on import prohibition list which he said fell under Schedule 3 of Common External Tariff.
The comptroller assured that the unit would continue to ensure that smugglers count their losses until they repented from sabotaging the nation’s 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 responsibility to protect the nation’s economy in line with the expectations of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“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 responsibility by suppressing smuggling within our zones”.