The Strike Force Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, Zone ‘A’ said it intercepted tramadol, codeine syrup, cannabis sativa and foreign parboiled rice among others seizures worth N6.6billiom smuggled into the country through the ports and border stations in Lagos.
Coordinator of the Strike Force Unit, Muhammed Yusuf, who disclosed this during a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday said the unit also collected N1.3billion as revenue for the months of March and April, 2022.
Giving a breakdown of the seizures made within the review period, he said they include 4000 bags of foreign rice worth over 7 trucks; 1,030 slabs of donkey skin; 387kg of cannabis sativa; 1,613 cartons of Codeine cough syrup (100ml per bottle) and 132 cartons of 200mg Sildenafil Citrate.
Others are 40 cartons of tramadol; 5 cartons of chilly cutter; 1,080 pairs of ladies’ shoes; 110 cartons of ladies bags; 115 cartons of ladies gel among other items.
He said, “You may recall that the Federal Government, through the ministry of health, banned the production and importation of Codeine because of its gross abuse. The use and abuse of drugs are responsible for the substantial cause of different social vices and criminalities in our society. This is witnessed in the pervasive outburst of insecurity in the country.
“The quest to smuggle foreign parboiled rice into the country has been on the increase, despite desperate efforts by the Federal Government to encourage local production. The attendant effects of smuggling foreign rice into the country include, but not limited to increase in the rate of unemployment, draining of the nation’s foreign exchange, health hazards among others. To this end, 4000 bags of foreign parboiled rice which was an equivalent of about 7 truckloads were intercepted in the months under review.”
On the seizure of donkey skins, the Strike Force boss noted that the continuous extermination of wild life has a negative impact on the biodiversity in the ecosystem adding that consistent elimination of donkeys will eventually lead to the extinction of the species, which will consequently affect the ecosystem.
He said since smugglers are unrelenting, the unit has intensified patrols across the South-West Zone to ensure contrabands and other unwholesome goods are not allowed into the country.
“By our mandate, we shall always ensure compliance with all Customs extant laws, ensure complete payments of duties and penalties through issuance of demand notices (DN) when necessary.
“Interestingly, the sum of N1,355,892,268) was collected as revenue for the months of March and April, 2022.
“Our resolve to step up on the fight against smuggling and enemies of the economy is renewed every day. Since smugglers are unrelenting, we won’t allow them to have their way through whichever means they choose.
“Our 24-hour patrols using the logistics support provided by the Comptroller-General have yielded more results in addition to the seizures we showed you two months ago. I am, however, sending a strong message of warning once again to all those contravening Customs laws and Federal Government fiscal policies that our readiness against their illegalities is sharpened with renewed vigour,” he said.