Law and Crime

Smuggling:Customs Intercepts 1600 Drums of Poisonous Tomato Concentrates in Lagos

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Operatives of Nigeria Customs Service at Ports Terminal Multiservice Limited have intercepted and seized 1600 drums of poisonous tomato concentrates arranged in 20 containers from smugglers, falsely declared as containing almond shells in Lagos.
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Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) who disclosed this on Friday,October 6, 2023 to journalists in Lagos said the seizure aligns  with the goals he has set for the Nigeria Customs Service under his leadership.
Adeniyi who described the seizure as unprecedented in the history of the command, faulted the audacity of smugglers to bring in such products into the country with intent to evade duty payment and statutory regulatory procedures of the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
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He said the seizure was processed through three separate single good declarations (SGDs) forms and a testament to customs unwavering commitment to maximally suppress smuggling and its determination to safeguard the lives of Nigerian citizens by intercepting dangerous goods
According to him, one suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure and has been granted administrative bail while investigation is ongoing.
While warning smugglers on the need to desist, Adeniyi said the 20  falsely declared containers contravene the provisions of sections 228(1) and (2), 55 (c and d), and 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. According to him, it also violates Schedule 4, item 14 of the Common External Tariff (CET) 2022-2026.
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The Acting CG said “On the 8th of August, 2023, during a routine examination, our vigilant officers at PTML uncovered a cache of expired tomato concentrate, deemed unsafe for human consumption. The audacity of the smugglers to attempt introducing this hazardous product into the Nigerian market is both shocking and disheartening.
“These expired tomato concentrates were concealed within 20 containers, each falsely declared as containing almond shells, all under the auspices of a company identified as Nikecristy Investment Limited. In each container, 80 drums were meticulously arranged, amounting to a total of 1,600 drums. The duty paid value of this illegal cargo is a staggering sum of one hundred and sixteen million, two hundred and eleven thousand, seven hundred and twenty-five naira, seventy-three kobo (#116,211,725.73).
“The container numbers involved in this illicit operation are as follows: ACLU 2790243, GCNU 1275582, GCNU 1303278, GCNU 1336137, GCNU 1361905, GCNU 1316824, GCNU 1323314, GCNU 1324727, GCNU 1326210, SEGU 3388813, ACLU 2800629, GCLU 13218553, GCNU 1340991, GCNU 1353290, GCNU 1340991, GCNU 1353290, GCNU 1302570, GCNU 1308140, SEGU 3333426, and SEGU 3338351. As of now, all these containers remain in our custody, officially recorded as seizures. We have apprehended one suspect, Mr. Okonkwo Oliver Izunna, who is currently under administrative bail but remains under investigation” he said.
Francis Ononiwu, NAFDAC Director of Enforcement and Investigation who represented his Director General described the product as poisonous.
Ononiwu reiterated that the agency would not relent in bringing perpetrators of such dangerous Importation to book

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Ismail Aniemu

Ismail Aniemu, Publisher of JournalNG and ghost writer, is a maritime journalist of over two decades' of practice with multidisciplinary background. He holds a masters degree in Transport Management from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology(LAUTECH) with bias for logistics. He is also an alumnus of the Times Journalism Institute where he obtained a post graduate diploma in Journalism. Email: ismail.aniemu@aol.com

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