The southwest enforcement unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has impounded 1,995 bales of second-hand clothing among other contraband items.
According to the unit, this forms the largest single seizure of such goods ever made by the unit were discovered at an abandoned building around the International Trade Fair Complex in Lagos.
Speaking with journalists in Ikeja, the Acting Controller, Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Hussein Ejibunu, explained that the unit made the discovery and evacuation using combined strategies of intelligence, tact, and enforcement.
On the seized used clothing, Ejibunu said “This is the highest single seizure of used clothing made by the service this year, and we have commenced investigation to know those behind this massive importation, and at what entry point these clothes came into the country”.
Mister Ejibunu emphasised that the unit made a series of seizures with total duty paid value of six hundred and twenty-two million, four hundred and seven thousand, five hundred and eighty-six naira (622,407, 586) in the month of September.
“Smuggling of used clothes has economic and health implications on our people. The government in its wisdom wants the local textile industry to enjoy protection and create more jobs for Nigerians from the cotton farms through the textile and garment factories to our markets,” he said.
According to him, the seizures recorded within the period include 7,328 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, 121,550 litres of premium motor spirit, 68 cartons of frozen poultry, 37 crates of eggs used to conceal rice, 150 kg parcels of Indian Hemp, 10 pieces of military camouflage bags, six units of used cars, one unit of pump action rifle, two units of locally made guns and 35 live cartridges.
Within the same period, the unit also made a large cache of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) ingeniously concealed inside sacks which were intercepted at the Badagry axis of Lagos State.
Ejibunu added that the sum of one hundred and seven million, eight hundred and sixteen thousand, six hundred twenty-two naira, seventy-five kobo (n107,816,622.75) was also recovered in a bid to prevent losses to the government.
Five suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.
“Interestingly, the Federal High Court has passed three judgments in favor of this Unit on three criminal cases; securing the conviction of six people for being in possession of smuggled goods,” he added. “While six civil suits against the Unit were dismissed for lack of merit.”
Stating the fact according to WHO reports, the Unit boss said “According to a World Health Organization fact-sheet, ‘Monkeypox’ is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.”
“‘Monkeypox virus’ is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding.
“It is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.”