The Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone “C” of Nigeria Customs Service in Owerri has seized 102,099 cartons of illegally imported frozen poultry products with duty paid value of N1.27 billion.
Comptroller Mohammed Garba, the Area Controller of the zone, disclosed to journalists in Owerri on Thursday.
He said the contraband were destroyed in accordance with government policy.
Garba said poultry products were still under import prohibition and would be seized and destroyed in compliance with the relevant laws and government policies.
He said the items were being conveyed in a Mack Truck with Reg. No. AJL 861 XA along Benin-Ekiadolor axis in Edo State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the poultry items included turkey parts, chicken parts and poultry gizzard, amongst others.
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The comptroller reiterated the commitment of his officers to ensure that smuggling in any form was brought to a minimal level.
“As trained officers in the course of our duty, when we intercept any suspected good and confirm it to be brought in contrary to the laws, it will be seized and disposed of.“We will continue to make sure that the public is adequately informed so that importation will be done in conformity with the laws to stem the menace of smuggling,” he said.
Mr. Garba urged Nigerians not to patronise imported frozen poultry products as they were adversely affecting the nation’s poultry industry and were also injurious to health.
“We have to encourage farmers and those in the agriculture sector to be productive, self-reliant, provide employment and boost the economy instead of sending out our foreign exchange and encouraging capital flight,” he said.
He said that three suspects were in custody in connection with the seizures and would soon be charged to court.
Mr. Garba called on smugglers to shun such negative activities and engage in legitimate trades to boost the economy.
The destruction of the poultry products was done in the presence of representatives of other security agencies like the Nigerian Police Force and the Department of State Security.
Others were the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and members of the press.