Insecurity & CrimeMetro

Customs Uncover N78.8m Codeine Imported Via Apapa Port

Benjamin Omoike

The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), have intercepted a container of unregistered pharmaceutical (codeine syrup and Colcaps) with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N78.8million.

In a press statement by Public Relations Officer, Apapa Command, Abubakar Usman and a copy made available to newsmen, the Command also generated N95.3billion for January, 2022.

The Comptroller, who reiterated the Command’s commitment to surpassing its revenue collection of N870 billion in 2021, said what was collected in January 2022, surpassed the N54.3 billion collected in January 2021 by N39 billion.

He also disclosed that the command seized nine containers of unprocessed and semi-processed wood at the point of loading into a vessel for export out of the country.

Giving a breakdown of the wood seizures value, the Customs Area Controller of the Command, Yusuf Malanta, said it is worth N70.6million.

Compt. Yusuf attributed the success of the Command to inter-agency synergies between Customs and sister organisations such as 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 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.

Read more: Tax Drive: FIRS Unveils New assignment Regime to Prove Big Firms

The Comptroller noted that the seizures of timber and rock balsam, under HS Code 44011000 to 44039000, contravened 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.

He said, “The DPV of the wood for all nine containers stood at N70.6million. 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 N78.8 million.”

The NDLEA Commander in Apapa Port, Samuel Gadzama, however, 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.

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