By Anthony Nwachukwu
Nine containers of unprocessed and semi-processed wood have been intercepted at the point of loading into a vessel by the Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), following a credible intelligence.
Compt. Yusuf Malanta, who disclosed this, said the command also seized a container of unregistered pharmaceuticals (codeine syrup and col caps) with approximate duty paid value of N78.8 million, while the seized wood is worth N70.6 million.
He disclosed that the seized export-bound cargo comprised timber and rock balsam, under HS Code 44011000 to 44039000, and contravene Sections 63 and 64 of the Export Trade (improper exportation of items), according to a statement from the Command Public Relations Officer, Abubakar Usman.
The other import container, with number TCKU 6800526, was laden with 702 cartons of codeine syrup (each containing 200 pieces) and 347 cartons of Col caps (each containing 2,000 pieces).
Though no arrest has yet been made over the seizures, he disclosed that both the NCS and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) were already investigating the cases, in order to bring perpetrators to book while also warding off recalcitrant traders from Apapa Port.
Yusuf further attributed the command’s anti-smuggling success to inter-agency synergies between the NCS and sister-agencies, including NDLEA, adding that the collaboration with NDLEA has helped in gathering intelligence leading to seizures of prohibited items as the command, acting on reliable information, swiftly examines suspected cargoes without waiting for the importers.
He assured of sustained efforts at making Apapa Port a no-go area for unlawful trade, and collecting maximum revenue into government coffers from all legitimate transactions.
Yusuf also reiterated the command’s commitment to surpassing its 2021 revenue collection of N870 billion, even as the N95.3 billion already collected in January 2022 surpassed the N54.3 billion collected in January 2021 by N39 billion.
Meanwhile, the Apapa Port NDLEA Commander, Samuel Gadzama, has promised stronger synergy with the NCS to prevent similar importation, adding that the seized drugs would be publicly destroyed after the court process, in line with extant laws.