Smugglers conceal foods alongside poisonous substances, customs alleges
Sequel to joint action at the nation’s border posts, smugglers have devised another means of concealing contrabands, mostly food items with poisonous substances.
Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit, (FOU), Zone A, Ikeja of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Compt. Muhammed Aliyu, in a chat with the media, said that due to the joint security operation at the land borders, smugglers have found it difficult to smuggle rice into the country hence, they are moving the one already stored in the country.
He said: “We have some rice stored in villages that they are bringing out little by little because of the joint security operation at the border. Now, we see them concealing contraband with poisonous substances such as soap, animal feeds, and even alcoholic drinks.
“For instance, this is a truck containing soap but when you go inside, it’s not soap but was used for concealing rice. The truck contains 210 bags of smuggled rice but the soap is just a cover. I called you to see the means of concealment, the extent people can go to bring in contraband into the country.”
He said the Unit has intercepted banned drugs and smuggled rice worth N85million between three weeks.
This was even as the unit said it intercepted 4,208 bags of smuggled foreign rice worth N55.3million that was concealed with tubers of cassava, animal feed, and a bottle of alcoholic products.
Aliyu said the contraband items were seized while the smugglers were trying to move from Oyo state to Lagos.
The CAC disclosed that drugs with no NAFDAC numbers were intercepted in the last one week.
He said, “Drugs such as 3,888 sachets of bisoprolol Fumarate, 300 bottles of Lactulose, 600 sachets of Atorastattin, 2,000 bottles of mandanol nasal drop and 10,800 sachets of Furossamide.
Others are 279 Dihydrocodeine, 744 Kenalog 40mg injection, 300 cartons of Lansoptazol, 560 sachets clopidogre, 1,764 contiflo, and 320 sachets meloxicam among others.”
He, however, warned corporate organisations to install trackers on their vehicles to forestall unscrupulous drivers from using the branded vehicles for rice smuggling.
“You know that the first one I showed was tubers of rotten cassava and yams to conceal rice. I also showed you soap, animal feeds and cartons of beer used to conceal rice. These are enough to get rice poisoned and bad for human consumption.
When asked whether the seized items came in through the land borders despite the joint security operation, the Customs boss said smuggling activities have reduced drastically.
“The smuggled rice, drugs are not coming from the land border but within a week, the unit has intercepted 4,208 bags; that is to show you that the rice smuggling is going down due to the activities at the borders.”