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Customs intercepts container of fake pharmaceutical products

*15 Suspects in custody

*Recovers N229m in duty payments

In furtherance of its onslaught against smuggling and ridding the society of smugglers, the Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Ikeja of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted a 1 by 40ft container of pharmaceutical product disguised as United Nations (UN) branded cartons to evade detection.

The container contained 1442 cartons of Tramadol 225/120 in container numbered MSKU 98895 and a MAN Diesel Truck with Registration Number RRU 513 XA and was arrested along Oshodi-Apapa and Ijebu Ode express ways.

According to the controller of the Unit, Mr. Mohammed Garba, the interception took place following the commitment, doggedness and resilience of the Officers and men of the unit in foiling the antics of the smugglers who used different methods of concealment in evading the eagle eyes of the customs.

Garba expressed concerns over what would have happened if the drugs had gone into circulation.

“Only God knows what would have happened if these drugs had gotten into the market, these people who import these kind of products are worse than armed robbers” he said.

He further revealed that 15 suspects were arrested in connection over 40 different seizures which were recorded comprising of vegetable oil, foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, smuggled vehicles, medications, used tyres, and various general merchandise.

The unit was also able through its interventions to recover the sum of N229m in duty payments and demand notices.

“You will agree with me that the fight against smuggling can only be won if all hands are on deck. The commitment, doggedness, residence and diligence of the officers and men of the FOU Zone A for foiling the antics of smugglers who used different methods for concealment cannot be over emphasized,” he said.

“In the spirit of inter-agency relationship, the drugs will be handed over to NAFDAC today for further investigation,” he added

Reacting, Director of investigations and enforcement, National Drug Law Enforcement and Agency (NDLEA), Kingsley Ejiofor, who also doubles as the chairman, Federal Taskforce against counterfeited and fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods commended customs for their efforts.

“Words are not enough to describe how excited we are. Just a few weeks back, we were in Port Harcourt where 11 containers of drugs with no permit worth N9billion were intercepted and handed over to us.

“These products, which are very dangerous, were from India and have the production date of 2017 and expires 2020 the product will not go on the supply chain, it will be destroyed, we will take up the investigations from where the Customs stopped.

“It is a clarion call for all professional and all to intensify efforts when it comes to issues like this, it is about saving lives. It is a very serious issue, if you have any information, let us know and we promise not to reveal our source,” he added.

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