The Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) special task force says it has intercepted 10 containers of substandard goods, including contrabands, at Lagos seaports.
Prosper Okolo, the Chief Operating Officer, IMAN Special Task Force, South West Zone, said during a press conference Thursday that they have also cracked down on some companies producing fake and substandard drugs in Lagos.
IMAN, a non-governmental organisation, initiated the task force to assist government agencies in curtailing illegal importation into Nigeria.
“IMAN Special Task Force on illegal importations through credible intelligence has recorded tremendous successes since it started its enforcement activities in the first two months of 2019,” said Mr Okolo.
“We are pleased to announce to you that in the last two months a total of 10 containers of six by 20ft and four by 40ft containers with various infractions ranging from concealments, banned and smuggled goods imported into the country was intercepted in various parts of Lagos State by the task force.
“Aside from the concealements, some of them short paid the government to the tune of billions of Naira.”
Mr Okolo said within the period under review, the task force also received credible intelligence of some warehouses involved in the production and importations of fake and sub-standard products without the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) regulations.
“The task force has so far sealed five warehouses which were found to deal in importation of tyres, used clothings, unwholesome products among others without the required regulations and permits.
“Some of the affected warehouses which were found to have gone against the importation laws such as concealments of up to five small tyres into big ones to pay lesser duties. These acts the task force sees as not only economic sabotage, but also endangering the lives of Nigerians as these tyres though new, but have lost its value due to the way it was concealed and imported into the country.
Mr Okolo listed some of the companies allegedly involved in the “nefarious activities” to include Megachem Nigeria Limited, Kevolinks Digital Limited, Kwikfit Nigeria Limited, Inomek Nigeria Limited, and Bosac Nigeria Limited among others.
“It is interesting to note that some of the warehouses visited by our team involved in these acts are owned by foreigners, mostly Chinese,” he added.
The group denied claims that it was selective in its approach to arresting offenders, insisting that it was not embarking on a witch-hunt.
“We want to reiterate that the IMAN Special Task Force is not out to witchhunt anybody or organizations, neither is it to challenge or rub shoulders with any agency of government, but to complement the efforts of the government agencies to rid our country of nefarious activities perpetrated by unpatriotic Nigerians and their foreign collaborators who deprived the country of not only required revenue, but also post danger to the health of Nigerians.
“We, however, appeal to all security agencies, especially those involved in imports, exports and other regulatory functions to collaborate with the IMAN Special Task Force to rid Nigeria of these menace.
“Our appeal also goes to the importers, clearing agents and manufacturers to please abide by the regulatory and fiscal requirements in line with the law in carrying out their businesses.”