The Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service has impounded a 40-foot container laden with Tilapia fish from Turkey.
Customs Area Controller of the Command, Jibrin Musa, disclosed in Lagos that the importer declared apples as the content of the container before scanning proved it to be 2,700 cartons of prohibited frozen fish.
Jibrin said that aside the offence of false declaration, the import also contravened the law as it failed the requirement for license and quota expected for importers of allowable fish species into Nigeria.
He said, “As part of our collective resolve to ensure strict compliance with government import prohibition rule, we recently uncovered an attempt to smuggle tilapia fish into the country.
“In a bid to evade detection and arrest, the importer made a false declaration that the 1x40ft container was laden with apples.
“Upon scanning, we discovered this to be untrue as the container contained 2,700 cartons of tilapia frozen fish from Turkey, the aforementioned fish species is under restriction. More so, importers of allowable species of fish are expected to obtain license and permit and necessary quota before such importation into the country.
“Consequent upon this false declaration, Nigeria Customs Service Apapa hereby declare this container with number DFOU6122880 seized while investigation is ongoing to bring all the accomplices to book. The duty paid value (DPV) is about N22,193,384.00. ”
Jibrin, who paraded a suspect before newsmen, said that investigations were ongoing on the seizure while adding that his command has opened communication with relevant agencies like National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) on the seizure.
The Controller ruled out the possibility of destroying the seized fish as he added that the command would await further directive from its headquarters on how to dispose of it.
He also warned perpetrators of unlawful import and export practices in Apapa to desist from it as the long arms of the law will always bring them to book.