It was a clear blue sky this morning which ushered in sweltering sun at the Ports and Terminal Multi-Service Limited Command of the Nigeria Customs Service in Tin Can Island, Apapa Lagos.

The occasion was the visit of the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi who was there with the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Zone ‘A’ Jibo, Y and a host of other lieutenants.

The Command which is largely known for the discharge of ro-ro vehicles and sometimes also known to have other cargoes cleared from the terminal witnessed the seizure of 20×20 foot containers, all fully loaded with barrels of expired tomato concentrate which is a raw material for making tomato puree.

The cargoes were imported from Spain.

The CGC while addressing a crowd of officers and journalists said that “On the 8th of August, 2023, during a routine examination, our vigilant officers at PTML uncovered a cache of expired tomato concentrate, deemed unsafe for human consumption.

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CGC ADENIYI SPEAKS ON SEIZURE OF 20x20FT CONTAINER OF EXPIRED TOMATO CONCENTRATE

The audacity of the smugglers to attempt introducing this hazardous product into the Nigerian market is both shocking and disheartening”.

These containers were processed through the single goods declaration (SGDs) form, but fell to the watchful eyes of the officers.

The CGC’s words “These expired tomato concentrates were concealed within 20 containers, each falsely declared as containing almond shells, all under the auspices of a company identified as Nikecristy Investment Limited.

In each container, 80 drums were meticulously arranged, amounting to a total of 1,600 drums.

The duty paid value of this illegal cargo is a staggering sum of one hundred and sixteen million, two hundred and eleven thousand, seven hundred and twenty-five naira, seventy-three kobo (#116,211,725.73)”.

The containers involved in this illicit operation have these numbers: ACLU 2790243, GCNU 1275582, GCNU 1303278, GCNU 1336137, GCNU 1361905, GCNU 1316824, GCNU 1323314, GCNU 1324727, GCNU 1326210, SEGU 3388813, ACLU 2800629, GCLU 13218553, GCNU 1340991, GCNU 1353290, GCNU 1340991, GCNU 1353290, GCNU 1302570, GCNU 1308140, SEGU 3333426, and SEGU 3338351.

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The Customs has apprehended one suspect, Mr. Okonkwo Oliver Izunna, who is currently under administrative bail but remains under investigation.

The action of importing these items contravenes the provisions of sections 228(1) and (2), 55 (c and d), and 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.

Additionally, it directly violates Schedule 4, item 14 of the Common External Tariff (CET) 2022-2026.

CGC ADENIYI SPEAKS ON SEIZURE OF 20x20FT CONTAINER OF EXPIRED TOMATO CONCENTRATE

The CGC used the occasion to hand the seized 20×20 foot containers load of expired tomato concentrate to the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

In a question and answer session, CGC Adeniyi said that tomato concentrate is allowed for importation, but that they have shelve lives that should be strictly adhered to and these seized lot breach the tenets or regulations for the goods allowed for importation because for one, they are expired and two, they were falsely declared.

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He advised that Nigerians should think more of exporting Nigerian made products whether partially or wholly finished in order to shore up the value of our local currency.

While receiving the seized cargoes, the representative of the Director-General of NAFDAC, Mr Francis Ononiwu, Director Investigation enforcement said that he appreciates the synergy that exists between his agency and the Customs and detailed that the Customs have been cooperating very much with NAFDAC to safeguard public health, he promised that the consignment will be transfered to a place where they will be destroyed.

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