Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has warned the smugglers in the Southsouth and southeast parts of the country to desist from economic sabotage or face the full weight of the law.

The Controller, FOU, Zone C, Comptroller Yusuf Lawal, sounded the note of warning in Owoerri, he revealed that the zone intercepted unregistered drugs, rice and other contrabands worth N869 million in January 2021.

Lawal added that the unit would continue to make sure smugglers within his areas of jurisdiction count their losses until they repent from sabotaging the economy.

“Our resolution remains to degrade the activities of smugglers through aggressive patrol of all flanks and flashpoints. We will be very ruthless with these economic saboteurs because we have a responsibility to protect the nation’s economy in line with the expectations of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

He warned smugglers and would-be smugglers to be prepared for the battle ahead because we will leave no stone unturned in our effort to up the ante of the anti-smuggling mandate.

“There is no amount of resistance from the smugglers and their mob accomplices that will deter us from performing our statutory responsibilities by suppressing smuggling within our zones,” he said.

On the seizures, Lawal said the seized items included 1,024 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products, 1,046 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each, 290 cartons of imported Eva Soap, 62 jumbo bales of secondhand clothing, and one Toyota Corolla 2018 model.

He noted that the 1,046 bags of foreign parboiled rice were trailed and evacuated from an unnamed warehouse along Elelenwo Road, Port Harcourt, based on credible and timely intelligence, following operational procedures, rules of engagement and ensured professionalism backed by section 147 and 151 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004.

He said: “More worrisome and of concern to us as an enforcement arm of the Service was the interception of the 1,024 cartons of unregistered Colcaps medicaments imported from India without NAFDAC certification.

“Our concern now is to unravel those behind the importation, their accomplices and their antics of scaling through unapproved routes. The negative effects of unlicensed drugs in circulation cannot be over-emphasized. The drugs were intercepted along Ofosu-Benin Expressway based on shared intelligence. Equally, the 290 cartons of soap were intercepted along Aba-Owerri Road based on intelligence. You may recall that Soaps and detergents are still on the Import Prohibition list, which falls under schedule 3 of Common External Tariff (CET),” he stated.