Abiola Seun |
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday announced the seizure of 33 containers of expired foreign parboiled rice marked as Nigerian brands in Tincan Island Port of Lagos.
Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali , who announced the seizure to newsmen in Lagos disclosed that most of the seized rice expired in 2018.
It was gathered that the expired rice were imported from China and Thailand and were about to be smuggled into the Nigerian market.
The CGC while inspecting one of the containers found some empty bags with new dates, apparently, to be used to rebag the expired rice.
He however further added that additional 21 containers comprising used tyres, vegetable oil, used clothing and unregistered pharmaceutical products were among seizures made.
Ali said the seizures are valued at N2,713,865,051 and they contravened provisions of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Sections 46 and 161.
He added that the partial closure of land borders may have forced rice smugglers to consider attempting using the ports.
According to him ” Specifically, we are aware that the partial closure of the land borders has resulted in the diversion of some cargoes back to our seaports.
“While we welcome this development which no doubt will boost our revenue, improve our trade facts and figures and sustain our diversification efforts,
“Realising that there may be possible backslash to the closure of the land borders , I directed all seaports and airports to beef up their surveillance and intercept any illicit and prohibited consignment for which attempt for their smuggling may be made through these entry points.
“This decision was made considering that those consignments may have been paid for and the importers will devise means to ensure they are delivered to their warehouses in Nigeria
“One significant finding about this seizure is that all the rice is expired or about to expire. Also remarkable is the seizure of tramadol variants and unregistered performance enhancing drugs among the pharmaceutical.
Ali further started that the Central Bank of Nigeria has not issued Form M since 2015 for the importation of rice through the seaport, therefore any foreign rice in the country is smuggled, the Customs CG said.
Ali said he had directed a full investigation to bring all those connected with the importation to justice.
Commending the Tin Can Island Command of the Customs, Ali said N286.7bn had been generated as revenue by the Command from January to date.
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