The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Customs Command has impounded a total number of 54 containers of rice, unregistered pharmaceutical products, used tyres, used clothing and refined vegetable oil in retail packs.
Briefing the press after the inspection of the containers, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) said the seizures were made in response to his directive to all seaport and airport Customs Commands to beef up their surveillance and intercept any illicit and prohibited consignment for which attempt for their smuggling may be made since the land borders have been closed to all forms of imports.
Providing a breakdown of the seizures, Ali stated that they included 33 containers of rice, one container of rice concealed with spare parts, 11 containers of unregistered pharmaceutical products, two containers of used tyres, one container of used clothing and four containers of refined vegetable oil in retail packs.
According to the Comptroller General, the duty paid value of the 54 containers totaled N2,713,865,051.
Ali announced that all the containers have been seized in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004 Sections 46 and 161.
He disclosed that all the rice seized had expired or about to expire and therefore not good for human consumption.
He however noted the remarkable significance of the seizures which includes Tramadol variants and unregistered performance enhancing drugs among the pharmaceutical products.
The Customs Boss recalled that the Service had in the past raised alarm and drew the attention of the general public to the fact that most of the imported rice were expired.
He added that the Service had also in the past highlighted the dangers of the use of Tramadol and had recently similarly seized and kick-started the destruction of over N14 billion worth of Tramadol.
He averred that those who imported the dangerous items are undoubtedly enemies of Nigeria, stressing that had it been that the importers succeeded in getting the expired rice in and then rebagged them with a new expiration date for Nigerians to consume, the consequences would have been unimaginable with the Tramadol and others such as mixagrip,vitamin B complex injection,artesam-artesunate injection,chloroquine phosphate tablet 20mg,confem førte Diclofenac potassium capsules which had no nafdac registration number.
he Rice were rebagged with various brand names such as masters Rice using the company address of number 31A, Remi fani-kayode street, GRA ikeja, Lagos and also, Dr Chang brand (tasmini rice), Yunfel International Trading Company limited, purportedly situated at 103, Ebitu Ukiwe Street, Jabi Abuja.
Ali emphasised the resolve of Customs and other sister agencies to secure the country’s land borders from such dangerous items, adding that it is a red alert on all entry and exit points in Nigeria.
He disclosed that he has directed a thorough investigation with a view to bringing all those connected to the criminal imports to justice.
He commended officers and men of Tin Can Command for a job well done and urged them to keep up the good work and possibly surpass the command’s revenue target.