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Customs seize N2bn contraband in two weeks

Customs seize N2bn contraband in two weeks

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Anna Okon

The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja has declared the seizure of contraband worth N2.55bn in two weeks between July 25 and August 7.

Among the seized items were 2,748 cartons of DSP Codeine cough syrup worth N1, 175,200,000.

The Controller, NCS, FOU, Mr Mohammed Garuba, stated on Wednesday that the codeine syrup was found in a MAN diesel truck with registration number XB 286 BEN, along Afromedia Estate, by Egbeda junction, beside Alaba International market.

In May, the Federal Government declared a ban on importation of cough syrup containing codeine after a BBC documentary highlighted the abuse of the syrup among youths.

According to Garuba, this is the second time in a row the unit is intercepting the substance since the ban.

He added that information had also led to the evacuation of 49 cartons of 100mg Tramadol capsules from a warehouse in Ajao Estate, saying that the drugs would be handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control for further investigation.

He listed contraband intercepted within the period to include 21 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 1,031kg and four pieces of elephant tusk weighing 29.35kg which were evacuated from a shop located in Tejuosho market in Victoria Island, based on information by the Warehouse Operations team led by Mutalib Sule.

He said, “The seized endangered species have a duty paid value of N253.6m. You will recall that the Minister of State for Environment, Mallam Usman Jibril, accompanied by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species delegates from the United Nations visited the unit, inspected the previous seizure of such endangered species this year and even commended us for a job well done.

“The trade in such endangered species is globally prohibited, hence the need for us all to fight against such illegality so that such endangered species do not go into extinction.”

Other seizures recorded in the two weeks are 39 sacks and 1,220 parcels of 1,610kg of  Indian Hemp, uncovered in a transit bus in Ogun State; 17 units of exotic vehicles; 1,380 bags of foreign parboiled rice; 1, 126 pieces of used shoes; and 140 cans of vegetable oil.

Garuba added that among the detained vehicles were seven Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs; four Toyota Hiace buses; two Toyota Coaster buses, and four Toyota Camry cars.

“These 17 exotic vehicles have a duty paid value of N304.2m.  Four of the vehicles were intercepted along Ijebu Ode Expressway while 13 were evacuated from a house on Plot 1, Akin Taylor Close, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, based on credible information.

“Eight suspects were arrested in connection with these 25 seizures,” he said.

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