Customs seizes fake drugs worth ₦12.1 million, arraigns 15 suspects

Hameed Ali Nigeria Customs Service, NCS

Not fewer than 15 suspects have been arrested by the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone ‘ A’ of Nigeria Customs Service in connection with 1,104 cartons of fake pharmaceutical products, estimated at the Duty Paid Value, DPV, of over ₦12.1 million, smuggled into the country without appropriate documents and permits from government. Some of the substandard drugs fully loaded in two 40ft trucks were concealed with second hand tyres by the smugglers in a bid to escape security checks.

The drugs include Cimetidine tables, Derm-Artemether injection, Tetracycline hydrochloride, Diclofenac capsules, Dicmol, Piroxican and many others.

The Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the Command, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba who disclosed these while handing over the items to National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Controller, NAFDAC, in Lagos, stressed that the suspects will be prosecuted according to the law.

According to him, “the core function of FOU is anti-smuggling and our officers have been strategically positioned to curb smuggling of all prohibited items including substandard pharmaceutical products. Aside from the medications displayed here, we also intercepted 1,590kg of cannabis Sativa (Indian hemp) worth N72.9million, which are going to be handed over to NDLEA for further investigation.”

In a chat with Vanguard at the scene of the inspection, a Duty Director with the Investigation Department of NAFDAC, Mr. Francis Ezeribe, said NAFDAC is pushing for death sentence or life imprisonment for smugglers of fake drugs into the country, lamenting that the health of Nigerians is in serious danger from increased rate of such items going into the market for public consumption.