By Ifenyinwa Obi
LAGOS—The Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service, yesterday, confiscated four containers of imported cigarettes called PANDA from China, which had neither manufacturing nor expiring dates.
It was discovered that neither the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, nor National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, was aware of the import.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Customs Area Controller of the Command, Willy Egbudin, narrated how the importer and his agent manipulated the Bill of Lading to beat Customs process.
Egbudin said: “While the manifest read millet, the declaration was cigarette. With this mix-up, we began to suspect the consignment and asked that alert be placed on them.
“Noticing danger, the agent went to the shipping company, Comets Shipping, to doctor the document with new consignee, new product but with same Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR.
“The new manifest changed the consignee name from Oriental Int. Transport Ltd to Pullover Nigeria Ltd. and cigarette to millet.
“Cigarette is 10 percent duty; 60 percent levy and five percent VAT, while millet is five percent duty.
“Apart from the danger, the unregistered product could have caused to consumers, the government could have also lost N196 million, if the product had hit the market.”