By Aisha Cole
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone “A “of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has intercepted 140 bundles of textile materials worth N11.2 million and other contraband in one month.
The Customs Area Controller, of the command, Comptroller Mohammed Aliyu, made the disclosure at a news briefing on Thursday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Smuggling of textile materials through the nation’s land borders had increased since the Federal Government placed ban on access to foreign exchange to importers of textile materials in the country.
Also, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, had in March said that Nigeria currently spends over 4 billion dollars annually on importation of textiles and ready-made clothing.
Emefiele had said that the potential market size of the domestic textile industry is over 10 billion dollars.
Aliyu said that a total of 25,153 bags of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country were also intercepted.
According to him, the textile materials, which worth over N11.2 million, were intercepted after being smuggled from neighboring country.
He said that others intercepted goods were 49 cartons of reboiled paracetamol injection worth N39.2 million; 86 sacks of used shoes valued at N10.3 million and 820 sacks of donkey skins worth N78 million.
Aliyu further explained that 347 cartons of codeine syrup valued at N174 million; 1,000 sachets of tramadol also valued at N250,000, and Indian hemp worth N11 million were intercepted.
He also disclosed that the smuggled rice worth over N331 million intercepted would be given to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs’) following the directive from the Customs headquarters in Abuja.
Aliyu said that the unit intercepted a truck loaded with Cement and smuggled rice thereby contaminating the rice.
“The rice was loaded in the middle of the cement and this is what they sell to the innocent public.”
The Controller explained that the rice sent to IDP’s were always taken to the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to verify if they were fit for consumption before distributing to the IDPs.
“We take this rice to NAFDAC for testing before we give it to orphanage homes. If they say it is not good for human consumption, we won’t give out but destroy. So, we don’t give expired rice to IDPs.
“We sort out the most poisonous one while we give the good ones to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).”
The NCS said that 16 vehicles worth over N470 million were also intercepted in the months under review.
NAN reports that the seized vehicles also include a Toyota Land Cruiser worth N189 million and 347 cartons of codeine syrup worth N174 million.
Other vehicles seized were Mitsubishi Pajero, Land Cruiser, Toyota Venza, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and Toyota Yaris, among others.
The 16 vehicles worth over N347 million, with one bullet proof vehicle, were abandoned after heavy chase by our operatives along Oyo and Ogun border.
Aliyu said that the Federal Government ban on importation of used vehicles and foreign parboiled rice at the land borders still remain.
He also advised importers of these smuggled items to use the nation’s seaports so as to avoid their business from being ruined and pay duties accruable to the Federal Government. (NAN)