By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka-

THE Police in Onitsha, Anambra State, over the week, uncovered a spot between the bank of the River Niger and the famous Main Market, through which unwholesome Kiwi Shoe Polish and other products were illegally imported into the commercial town and beyond.

CP leads onslaught

The operation which was personally led by the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Garba Umar, resulted in the discovery of an underground warehouse with access to the River Niger where speed boats are used to import the polish and other goods at odd hours, thereby beating the security network of the police. The raid which was carried out in conjunction with operatives a of the Special Anti-robbery team, SARS, in the command, followed a complaint by a sole importer of Kiwi Polish in Nigeria, Chief Sam Anyanwutaku, that some people were bringing into the country, fake shoe polish and using Onitsha as the main supply base.

CP Garba Umar being briefed by Chief Anyanwutaku, the sole distributor of Kiwi polish in Nigeria with Some of the Kiwi Polish recovered from the tunnel beneath the Shopping Mall and Cartons of fake Kiwi polish discovered at the underground warehouse facing the River Niger

Startled at the ingenuity of those behind the construction of the tunnel that had a large dark space underneath a two- storey shopping mall, the CP said: “From what we learned and the complaint that was lodged by someone who has the franchise of Kiwi shoe polish, we received information that there is somebody that is importing fake products here.

Due process in operation

”That importer has no franchise and the owner of the franchise made an official complaint to the police. We followed due process and the place was identified and we discovered a large consignment of the fake product in an underground warehouse adjacent to the River Niger. The suspect must have evacuated the products from the sea as there is a tunnel that faces the River Niger. We are going to find a way of fighting the criminals operating along the river. This kind of illegal importation could have been anything.

Other illegalities

“We are seeing polish and it’s possible some people might also be importing other illegal items through the river. This is, indeed, an eye opener for us and we have to beef up security along the water ways by equipping the Marine Police and the Navy who have a synergy with us. We will go after the suspects and the owner of the warehouse and I, therefore, invite Anambra people to cooperate with us to make our society crime free.”

According to him, the issue of importation of adulterated products is a big problem and I assure you that the police would not rest on their oars until the sources of the importation are identified and blocked.

Owner of franchise speaks

Addressing reporters in Onitsha, the sole agent of Kiwi in Nigeria, Chief Anyanwutaku, regretted that the importation of the fake Kiwi polish had been on for a long time, adding that he had to report to the police when the information on the latest importation reached his company. “We have the name of this importer, who is now on the run, and the police have assured us that they were still investigating the matter so as to apprehend him,” Anyanwutaaku said.

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