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Customs operatives storms Port Harcourt warehouse, evacuates 1,046 smuggled rice

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Abiola Seun      |     

Sequel to the directive of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), the Federal Operations Unit (Zone C) stormed a warehouse in Port Harcourt to evacuate 1,046 bags of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country from neighbouring country.

In a press statement by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), FOU Zone C. Jerry Attah, the unit also intercepted contrabands with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N870million between January 1 and 31.

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

Attah said, “1,046 bags of foreign parboiled rice were trailed and evacuated from an unnamed warehouse along Elelenwo Road, Port Harcourt, based on credible and timely intelligence, following the lay down operational procedures, rules of engagement and professionalism backed by section 147 and 151 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004.”

“It is our responsibility to ensure full implementation of the government policy banning the importation of rice through land borders and following headquarters directive on same, we have  strategised our operational modalities and beamed our searchlight at the creek, water side and at various locations in south-south and south east zones, hence the reason for the massive rice seizure within the month under review.”

Also, the unit’s Controller, Comptroller ‘Yusuf Lawal, said that more worrisome was the interception of the 1,024 cartons of unregistered Colcaps medicaments imported from India without the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)’s certification.

He noted, “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).”

Yusuf assured that the unit would continue to make sure smugglers within the unit’s  areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging the economy.
He stressed that NCS’ resolute remains to degrade the activities of smugglers through aggressive patrol of all flanks and flashpoints.
The comptroller said: “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”

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