Customs hands over N1.42b seized drugs to NAFDAC
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ has handed over seized 41 containers of expired drugs valued at N1.42 billion to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for destruction and further investigations.
Speaking during the handover at the Customs warehouse in Ikeja, Lagos, the acting Controller of the unit, Hussein Ejibunu, said expired, illicit and other drugs that do not comply with the statutory importation requirements were intercepted and seized at different locations in the Southwest region.
According to him, the drugs, which were imported from India and Malaysia, were warehoused in 39× 40 feet (ft) and two 20ft containers
He said the drugs, which do not have a manufacturing or expiring date, were manufactured in India, adding that the importer is still at large.
Ejibunu said the unit also seized other items against the extant Customs laws worth N694.5 million in March, with five suspects arrested.
They include 6,228 (50kg) bags of foreign parboiled rice equivalent to 11 trailer loads, 35,325 liters of premium motor spirit (PMS), 279 cartons of foreign poultry products; 105 parcels (50kg) of cannabis sativa, two 40 ft containers containing 883 bales of used clothes and eight units of foreign used vehicles.
He said the seizures are a reflection of the unit’s commitment to duty and non-compromise in the discharge of its functions aimed at protecting the nation’s economy and preventing the importation of prohibited and harmful products from entering domestic markets.
Ejibunu also added that the unit recovered N72.7 million in its effort to prevent loss of government revenue to duty underpayments that either arose from the undervaluation of imported items or wrong Harmonised System (HS) code classification.
Receiving the products, the Director of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, NAFDAC, Francis Ononiwu, said the quantity of the drugs is huge and had expired in November 2021.
He said the agency is uncertain if the products are already in circulation, noting that the importer could have changed the expiring date to the current one, thereby, exposing the public to toxins dangerous to the health.
According to him, the agency will take the drugs to the laboratory to ascertain their potency, while also investigating, to apprehend the importers of such products harmful to public health.