The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has reportedly intercepted a cargo with frozen food worth N68.9 million.
The interception was done at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Command and the Murtala Mohammed Area Command (Cargo Section), both of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
At a press briefing on Tuesday, 12th November, 2019, the Customs Area Controllers of the MMIA command and his counterpart of Murtala Muhammed Area Command, Comptroller Adewale Adeniyi and Comptroller Lena Oyama respectively, disclosed that forty (40) cartons of the poultry products were intercepted on a South African Airways flight while 104 cartons were abandoned on the tarmac of the terminal.
Speaking to journalists, the Controller of MMIA, Comptroller Adeniyi said the seizure was as a result of the border closure because the seizure was the first of its kinds in the history of the airport commands.
Adeniyi added that “on the night of 10th November, 2019, following the discharge of cargo from a South African Airways flight 5A060 from Johannesburg, our Tarmac operatives intercepted a consignment which was indicated as perishables, and are therefore qualified for pre-release at the cargo wing".
He further informed that “the officers requested to sight the items before transferring them.
Though the airway bill described the goods like fresh vegetables, the contents were later discovered to be assorted frozen products.
In all, there were 40 cartons, including Beef, Pork and Fish fillets.
It became obvious that the importers through his agents have prepared pre-release documentation purporting the imports to be fresh vegetables with the sole intention to evade the import prohibition order".
The statement further reads “At about 00:05 hrs, the following morning, another consignment of 104 cartons comprising pork meat, beef and turkey was seen abandoned inside 4 Dollies close to Gate 13.
The Total Duty paid value of the two seizures is N68.9 million".
It is worth noting that, the tarmac seizure is coming on the heel of other seizures recently made at the Cargo Wing.
This clearly points to a possible shift of strategy by smugglers.
The controllers noted that with the border drill making it a nightmare for smuggling operation at the borders.
Intelligence has suggested that the airports are now being considered as options.”