A total of 530 packages of expired energy drink imported from Europe and banned spaghetti from Turkey were smuggled out of the Lagos Port Complex without necessary Customs clearance, last week, LEADERSHIP has learnt.
At the time of filling this report, it was not clear whether the containers illegally exited through the Apapa Port or the Tin-Can Island Port, but importation of Spagetti is on the federal government's import prohibition list.
According to the import prohibition list on the website of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Spaghetti/Noodles - H.S. Codes 1902.1100 - 1902.30.0000 are banned from being imported into Nigeria.
Confirming this, the Customs Area Controller of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, Compt. Mohammed Uba, disclosed that the container also contained 2,260 cartoons of Gonca Spagetti made in Turkey.
LEADERSHIP recalls that that was not the first time cargoes would be smuggled out of the Lagos port without proper clearance procedure. Last year, 661 pump action rifles were smuggled out of the Apapa Port without necessary clearance but was intercepted by officers of FOU Zone A on its way to the owners' warehouses.
Also, in May 2016, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Maritime Command, Musa Katsina, intercepted a truck conveying a 40-foot container that he alleged was smuggled out of the ports at midnight. The container when examined contained used tyres that were not declared and used vehicles that were under declared.
Stakeholders at the port have, however, confirmed that containers especially contrabands are smuggled on a daily basis out of the Lagos Port -Apapa and Tin-Can - with the connivance of Customs officers.
Confirming further, the Customs CAC said the container even though was declared as baking powder in the Single Goods Declaration (SGD), further investigation revealed it was cartons of Gonca Spagetti and energy drinks that were not examined nor cleared from the seaport.
He said: "The 1x20ft container no: CSNU 106087/4 carried 2,260 cartoons of Gonca Spagetti made in Turkey and 530 package of Rifle Energy drinks made in Europe as against baking powder declared in the SGD. Investigation revealed that the container was never exited, we are still investigating and all those found culpable will face the full wrath of the law.
"While 1x40ft container no: PCIU 865957/1 was seized for carrying 200 cartons of ladies shoes, 134 cartons of children's ware among other items as against keyboard and mouse declared in the SGD; 1x40ft container no:FCIU 80992/0 was seized for carrying 2,300 cartons of tiffany chocolate,385 cartons of tiffany crunch 'n' cream biscuit as against "Tapet for fuel pump complete". These are clear cases of false declarations, liable to seizure and forfeiture."
The Customs boss also warned smugglers both at the nation's seaports and land borders to desist as his officers are on standby to subdue them. "Let me warn all smugglers/intending ones and their accomplices to desist from such trade malpractices and invest their money in legitimate business, as the Unit has devised other operational modalities that will give them a run for their money and count their losses and finally end in jail" he said.