By Yusuf Odejobi
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Area Command, has intercepted a container with tramadol capsules concealed with ceramic tiles and other items falsely declared with total duty paid worth over N223million.
The Command’s Area Controller, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta, who disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos at a media briefing, stated that the container with NO. SEGU 1793504 was falsely declared as ceramic tiles.
However, upon 100% physical examination, 1000 cartons of ceramic tiles was loaded in front while 554 cartons of 120mg of Tramadol capsules were concealed at the back of the container.
Giving further insight on the seizure, he explained that such consignments usually come from one port to another.
“If you look at the bill of lading, you’ll realise the container is coming from India then to Lome before arriving at Lagos port” he said.
Malanta noted that upon his resumption as the new CAC Apapa, he has deployed a new strategy called “forensic manifest management system” on all manifests declared by shipping companies which has resulted in the interception of the tramadol.
Giving a further breakdown on other seized items, he said, “With the support of my management team, we were able to make the following intervention: one 40 ft container loaded with sacks of mosquito coil products but declared as Ground paper and oak aging paper bag, seven (7) containers loaded with bakes of used clothing and shoes and one (1) container of unregistered pharmaceutical product containing 989 cartons of Mixagrip tabs falsely declared as Winches and gaskets.”
“The total duty paid value of the aforementioned seizures stood at two hundred and twenty-three million, two hundred and twenty-five thousand, nine hundred naira (N223, 225,900.00) without value of the tramadol”
“The Command has launched a preliminary investigation with a view to identifying the consignees for arrest and possible prosecution in connection with the criminal and unlawful importation.
He further said that the consignments are rightly seized for breaching the provision of Sections 46, 47, and 161 of CEMA CAP C45 LFN 2004 and provision of schedule 4 (17) of the Common External Tariff adding that under his watch the command will not tolerate any kind of unlawful behaviour from any importer or declarant.
He assured members of the business community that the Command will increase sensitization, enlightenment and robust stakeholders engagement for seamless operations, with a view to educate the public on the harmful and destructive nature of illegal importation.