Customs FOU Zone C intercepts contraband valued at over N869 million in January


Following her renewed vigor and determination to combat smuggling within her areas of jurisdiction, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone C, Owerri has intercepted various contrabands with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Eight Hundred and Sixty Nine Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty Five Naira (N869,550,345.00) between the 1st and 31st January, 2021.

The intercepted items include 1,024 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products, 1,046 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, 290 cartons of imported Eva Soap, 62 jumbo bales of secondhand clothing and one Toyota Corolla 2018 model.

The Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal while briefing newsmen in Owerri on Wednesday, disclosed that 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 lay down operational procedures, rules of engagement and ensued professionalism backed by Sections 147 and 151 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004.

Lawal reaffirmed that it was the responsibility of the Service to ensure full implementation of the government policy banning the importation of rice through land borders adding that following headquarters directive on same,” we re-strategized our operational modalities and beam our searchlight at the creeks, waterside and at various locations in South-South and South East zones and hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the month under review.”

He further stated that “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 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).”

Comptroller Yusuf assured that the Unit would continue to make sure smugglers within her areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging our economy.

“Our resolution 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 stated.

He however appreciated the robust synergy that existed among the Military, the Police, other security agencies and the operatives of the Unit and equally thanked members of the media for their continued support to inform, sensitize and educate the general public on the effects of smuggling to the nation’s economy.

Photo: Customs Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, Owerri, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal fielding questions from the media during the briefing in Owerri on Wednesday.

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