The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has uncovered a container of unregistered pharmaceutical (codeine syrup and col caps) with duty paid value of N78.7 million imported into the country through the seaports.

The Customs Area Controller of the Command, Yusuf Malanta, who disclosed this in a statement, said the command also intercepted nine containers of unprocessed and semi processed wood worth N70.5 million at the point of loading into a vessel.

Yusuf attributed the success of the command to inter-agency synergies between customs and sister organisations like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

He said the 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.

He said efforts at making Apapa Port a no-go area for unlawful trade would always be sustained while ensuring that maximum revenue is collected into government coffers from all legitimate transactions.

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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
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.

The Comptroller 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 was going to make sure that recalcitrant traders are brought to book and exportation of prohibited items are not allowed to pass through Apapa port.

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 ₦78.7 million.

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Yusuf further commended officers/men of the command for not relenting in discharging their official responsibilities. 

The NDLEA Commander in Apapa Port, Samuel Gadzama promised stronger synergy with customs to prevent such importation and added that upon due diligence through a court process, the seized drugs would be publicly destroyed in line with extant laws.