By Silas Onuoha
In a press release made available by the Deputy Superintendent of Customs,
Public Relations Officer (PRO) Abubakar Usman
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Apapa Command
has Intercepted 9 containers of unprocessed and semi processed wood at the point of loading into a vessel relying on credible intelligence.
The command also seized a container of unregistered pharmaceutical (codeine syrup and col caps) with duty paid value of N78,797,975.00
Giving a breakdown of the wood seizures’ value, the Customs Area Controller of the Command, Compt. Yusuf Malanta said it is worth N70,559,775.00
Attributing the success of the command to inter-agency synergies between customs and sister organisations like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Comptroller Yusuf Malanta informed.
“Collaboration with NDLEA has helped in gathering intelligence, leading to seizures of prohibited items as the command acts swiftly on reliable information without waiting for importers to come forward before effecting examination on suspected cargoes.
“Efforts at making Apapa Port a no-go area for unlawful trade will always be sustained while ensuring that maximum revenue is collected into government coffers from all legitimate transactions.
While arrests are yet to be made, the CAC said. “Investigations are ongoing by the Nigeria Customs Service and NDLEA to detect, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of the illegal importation
Comptroller Yusuf reiterated that the command is committed to surpassing its revenue collection of N870 billion in 2021.
He said a total of N95.3 billion was collected in January 2022, which surpassed the N54.3 billion collected in January 2021 by N39 billion
Comptroller Malanta noted that these are seizures of timber and rock balsam, under HS Code 44011000 to 44039000, and they contravene Sections 63 and 64 of the Export Trade (improper exportation of items).
He added that the command is going to make sure that recalcitrant traders are brought to book and exportation of prohibited items are not allowed to pass through Apapa port.
“The DPV of the wood for all nine containers stood at ₦70, 559,775.00
Another container number TCKU 6800526 which was laden with 702 cartons of codeine syrup (each carton contains 200 pieces) and 347 cartons of Col caps (each carton contains 2,000 pieces) was also seized by the command, with a street value of ₦78,787,975.00
The CAC commended officers/men of the command for not relenting in discharging their official responsibilities.
Also the NDLEA Commander in Apapa Port, Samuel Gadzama promised stronger synergy with customs to prevent such importation, added that upon due diligence through a court process, the seized drugs would be publicly destroyed in line with extant laws.