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Customs impounds N68.85m worth of frozen food at Lagos airport

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Frozen chicken. Photo: WEALTHRESULT

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday disclosed the seizure of two consignments of frozen foods valued at about N N68.85 million at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

The consignments, which came into the country a day after the other, had banned items like frozen chicken, turkey, meat, pork and fish.

According to the MMIA customs’ command, the first batch was disguised as vegetables with total duty paid value at N40 million. The second batch, though abandoned at the airport, was valued at over N28 million.

In a related development, the Service said it had earned at least N47.7 billion in revenues between January and October 2019, surpassing the year-long target by 110 per cent.

The Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Wale Adeniyi, yesterday in Lagos said that the first consignment, containing meat, chicken, turkey and other frozen foods were discovered on South African Airways flight on November 10, 2019.

Adeniyi said the goods had came in as perishables, and therefore, qualified for pre-release at the cargo wing of the airport.

He added that the officers insisted on inspecting the items before transferring them. But in the cause of inspection, it was discovered that the items included 40 cartons of beef, pork and fish fillets.

“Though the airway bill described the goods like fresh vegetables, but they were rather frozen foods, which are contraband in the country. It became obvious that the importer through his agents has prepared pre-release documentation purporting the imports to be fresh vegetables with the sole intention to evade the import prohibition order.

“At about 0005 hours the following morning, Monday, November 11, 2019, another consignment of 104 cartons comprising pork meat, beef, and turkey was seen abandoned inside four dollies close to Gate 13. The total duty paid value of the two seizures is N68.85 million,” he said.

Adeniyi described the seizures as warning to importers of contraband goods into the country, reiterating that its command would make it extremely difficult for such persons to use the airport to perpetuate their criminal activities.

He assured that the command would intensify its surveillance within the airport environment.

The items were destroyed at the Federal Operating Unit of the service at Ikeja.

The CAC, Murtala Muhammed Airport Area Command, Lena Oyama, hinted that the command had earned N47.7bn in the first 10 months of the year.

The amount generated was an improvement in the same period in 2018. The command had generated N44 billion in 10 months in 2018.

The breakdown of the generation indicated that in August, the command generated N4.3 billion, which equally represented 109.6 per cent increase from the expected revenue. The command generated the total sum of N4.320 billion, which represented 100.6 per cent increase of the expected revenue target for the month of August.

For the month of September, the command generated N4.9 billion, which also represented 115.6 per cent increase in revenue target, exceeding the monthly target for the command with N674.1 million.

Oyama expressed that for the month of October, the command earned N4.7 billion, which indicated an increase of 109.6 per cent.

The command, according to Oyama, impounded 25 packages of drones, 23 bags of stun guns two packages of military camouflage (20 in each package).

She explained that the items were intercepted because the importers lacked approval for the items imported, adding that the importers also lacked an end-users certificate to import the items.


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