It is no longer business as usual for importers of fake drugs in the South Eastern part of the country. The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, Owerri of the Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS) has impounded 1,777 cartons of fake and sub-standard drugs (Super Mebendazole and Levamisole Hydrochloride) without NAFDAC registration, manufacturing batch numbers and expiration dates, and other items worth Duty Paid Value, (DPV) of N250,676,300.
Briefing journalists at the Customs Government Warehouses in Owerri and Benin, Comptroller Victor Dimka, the Area Controller of the Unit, said that the truck conveying the Mebendazole tablets was impounded on the Benin/Edo expressway following a tip-off.
According to Dimka, the drug barons on sighting his men quickly abandoned the exhibits and fled into a nearby bush, but the truck driver was later arrested and is helping in the investigation.
Dimka, who promptly handed over the seized items to the Director of NAFDAC in Imo State, Mammael Victor and that of Edo State, David West for further investigation expressed concern at the spate of smuggling of illicit, unregistered, controlled drugs and contraband goods in the country despite severe consequences for offenders.
Displaying other seized items including 193 bales of fairly used Jumbo school bags and 780 bales of second-hand clothing impounded on the Eleme/Aba Road, Dimka disclosed that the used and expired tyres also smuggled into the country were similarly seized because of their obvious implications to human lives.
Other items seized include assorted types of furniture, 599 bags of 50kg long grain parboiled rice and 182 flashy vehicles.
Dimka regretted that while many Nigerians preoccupy themselves with ideas to move the nation forward and to acquire decent means of livelihood, others shamelessly engage in acts capable of bringing the nation to ruin.
He therefore warned smugglers, their agents and collaborators to turn a new leaf before the long arm of the law catches up with them, adding that Nigeria Customs Service is better equipped, informed, trained and mobilised to “dislodge smugglers wherever they hibernate and operate”.
He also appealed to members of the public with useful information about smugglers to always make them available to the nearest Customs Command for necessary action, pledging that such information would be treated with utmost confidentiality.
By Pita Ochai