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Border Reopening: Customs impounds N6.64bn smuggled foreign rice, codeine, tramadol 

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Abiola Seun

Few weeks after the federal government opened the Idiroko border, Ogun State, after over two years of closure, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Strike Force Unit, Zone A, intercepted foreign parboiled rice, used clothing, Tramadol and Codeine syrup smuggled into the country through the porous border stations in the South-West.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, on Wednesday, the Coordinator, Strike Force Unit, Muhammed Yusuf, said the contraband seized in the last two months worth N6.64billion.

According to him, the unit seized 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 is responsible for the
substantial cause of different social vices and criminalities in society.
 This is witnessed in the pervasive outburst of insecurity.

“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 attending 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 truck loads were intercepted in the months under review.”

Giving a breakdown of the seizures, Yusuf said, “a breakdown of the seizures made within the period of 8 weeks are; 1,030 slabs of donkey skin; 387kg of cannabis sativa, 285 bales of used clothes; 1,613 cartons of Codeine cough syrup (100ml per bottle); 132 cartons of 200mg Sildenafil Citrate; 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, worth N6.64billion.”

He, however, disclosed that 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.

“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 have their way through whichever means they choose.

“Our 24 hour patrol using the logistics support provided by the Comptroller-General, has 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 vigor.”

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