The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted nine containers of unprocessed and semi-processed wood at the point of loading into a vessel.
The Customs Area Controller of the Command, Mr Malanta Yusuf, disclosed this in a statement, signed by the Public Relations Officer, Abubakar Usman, and made available to journalists in Lagos on Thursday.
Yusuf explained that the wood seized is worth N70.5 million, noting that an unregistered pharmaceutical (codeine syrup and col caps), with a duty paid value of N78.7 million, was also seized.
Yusuf attributed the success of the command to inter-agency synergy between customs and its sister agencies such as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
“The collaboration with NDLEA has helped in gathering intelligence, leading to seizures of prohibited items as the command acted swiftly based on reliable information.
“Efforts at making Apapa Port a no-go area for unlawful trade will always be sustained while ensuring that maximum revenue is collected and remitted into government coffers,” he said.
He said that the unregistered pharmaceuticals were discovered in a container number TCKU 6800526 which was laden with 702 cartons of codeine syrup.
While arrests are yet to be made, the CAC said investigation is ongoing by the Customs and the NDLEA to detect, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of the illegal importation.
The Comptroller noted that these seizures of timber and rock balsam contravened Sections 63 and 64 of the Export Trade (improper exportation of items).
“The command is going to make sure that recalcitrant traders are brought to book and exportation of prohibited items are not allowed to pass through Apapa port,” he said.
Yusuf reiterated the command’s commitment to surpass its revenue collection of N870 billion in 2021.
He noted that a total of N95.3 billion was collected in January which surpassed the N54.3 billion collected in the same period in 2021 by N39 billion.
The NDLEA Commander in Apapa Port, Samuel Gadzama, also promised stronger synergy his customs counterpart to prevent such illegal importation.
He explained that after going through the normal court processes, the seized drugs would be publicly destroyed in line with extant laws.