By Udeme Clement
The Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, was the beehive of activities during the week, as the Command intercepted seven 20ft containers all loaded with pharmaceutical products imported into the country from China, without NAFDAC registration number and falsely declared by the importer, in order to escape security checks at the seaport. The Command’s management warned that wrong use of drugs not registered and approved by NAFDAC can cause serious health hazards capable of claiming innocent lives.
When Sunday Vanguard visited the port, it was observed that the drugs were loaded in different cartons inside the containers with registration numbers MRKU-4415360; PONU-7294073, TCNU-8425645; MRKU-4690422; MPKU-4343742; PCIU-8827910 and MRKU-5022095.
The Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the Command, Comptroller Jibril Musa, disclosed that the drugs were falsely declared by the importer as Cimetidine, which is another type of medication, but were uncovered by vigilant officers through intelligence signal.
CGC Ali Hameed has equipped us well with regular capacity building programmes and work-tools to enhance efficiency in our operations.” The Public Relations Officer of the Command, Ijeoma Nwala added that the items were seized through effective collaboration with other government agencies in the port. She said, “Investigations are on-going and sanctions must be applied in line with the extant laws. However, the seized drugs would be handed over to NAFDAC for necessary action.
Aside from drugs, we also intercepted some export containers of scrap metal, leather and unprocessed wood that are under export prohibition extant laws. Apapa Command has maintained its lead position as the highest revenue generating Unit in the Service, as we raked in N136.3billion from January to May, 2017. This is an unprecedented feat in view of the present economic down turn. The revenue realised shows a significant increase of N38.7billion when compared to N98.1billion collected in the same period last year.”
In his response, the Assistant Director of NAFDAC, Mr. Oluyemi Ogunrinde, commended the timely intervention of Apapa Custom in seizing the drugs, stressing that medications are delicate items that must be properly handled to protect the health of innocent citizens in the whole country. “We thank Comptroller Musa for his wealth of experience in the job and in training officers under his supervision to work efficiently”, he enthused.