Officials of the Nigerian Customs Service Tuesday impounded 33 containers bearing expired rice imported from Thailand and China at the Tincan Island port, Apapa, Lagos.
Other items seized by the agency include 11 containers of unregistered pharmaceutical products, two containers of used tyres, one container of used clothing. and four containers of refined vegetable oil in retail packs.
The impounded containers had a duty paid value of N2.7 billion.
Hameed Ali, the Controller General of Customs, said the seizures were as a result of the partial border closure.
“One significant finding about this seizure is that all the rice are expired or about to expire,” Mr Ali, a retired army colonel, told journalists in Lagos.
”Also remarkable is the seizure of Tramadol variants and unregistered performance-enhancing drugs among the pharmaceuticals. Recall that in the past, the Service has raised alarm and drew the attention of the general public to the fact that most of the imported rice are expired.
“The service had also in the past, highlighted the dangers of the use of Tramadol and had similarly seized and kick-started the destruction of over N14billion of Tramadol recently,”
The seizure comes barely a day after five containers of rotten fish and other edibles were discovered in a terminal at the Apapa area.
Mr Ali said the 54 containers seized on Tuesday contravened the provisions of Customs & Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004 Section 46 and 161.
He said further investigation would be carried to unravel those behind the importation and possible prosecution.
“Gentlemen of the press, there is no doubt that those who imported these dangerous items do not wish us well. Imagine if they had succeeded in getting the expired rice in and then re-bagged and changed the expiration date for Nigerians to consume.”