Pharmaceutical cargoes topped list of seaport seizures in 2020 ― Customs

The Apapa Customs Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday said 133 containers of imported but unregistered pharmaceutical cargoes topped the list of its seizures in 2020.

Addressing a media briefing on Tuesday in Lagos, the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Customs Command, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura said that in all, there was a total seizure of 318 cargoes with a duty paid value of N21,196,806,637.00 between January to December of 2020.

According to Comptroller Abba-Kura, “the entire revenue generated from the Lagos ports in 2020 stands at N518,046,832,016.84, which signifies an increase of 22.3percent when compared to the N423.6bn generated in 2019.

“Among the seizures last year were 133 containers of unregistered pharmaceutical including tramadol; 58 containers of parboiled rice; 30 containers of vegetable oil; 31 containers of used clothes and shoes; and 13 containers of used tyres and other items.

“In the area of export, we exported 1,311,365 cargoes in 2020 compared to 262,095 cargoes in 2019. The Free On Board (FOB) value of exported items equally rose from $132,760,512.94 US Dollars to $340,884,102.99 US Dollars within the period under review.”

When asked why pharmaceutical products topped the list of seizures at the Lagos port in 2020, the comptroller explained that importers of these products usually want to evade health agencies like NAFDAC and others, thus falsely declaring the contents of their consignments to evade detection.

In the words of the controller, “most of the importers of these pharmaceutical products always want to evade inspection from NAFDAC or other health agencies, so they falsely declare the contents of their cargoes. However, our officers caught them in the act and subsequently impounded such cargoes.

“On inspection, we always find out that these pharmaceutical products don’t have expiry or manufactured dates. Some are not NAFDAC-certified, thus the reason these cargo owners falsely declare them. That was why pharmaceutical imports topped the list of seizures at the Lagos ports in 2020.”

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