Customs impounds N15b donkey hides

Officials of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) attached to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ in Lagos have seized two containers of donkey hides valued at N15billion.

Its Controller, Aliyu Mohammed told reporters at a media briefing yesterday that the animal skins were discovered at a location where they were being dried for export.

He said the actual area of seizure will not be disclosed not to jeopardise ongoing investigations to undertake other seizures and arrest suspects connected with it.

He described it as an item on the export prohibition list, stressing that it was aimed at preventing the animals from extinction.

Also, the Owerri Command of FOU said it has commenced electronic auction of contrabands, including exotic cars of different brands seized from smugglers in Imo/Abia and Edo/Delta commands.

Its Controller, Comptroller Kayode Olusemire,  who spoke while conducting reporters round the latest seizures in the zone, said the auction, which will be done through the internet will be conducted every Monday and Wednesday for the next  one month.

According to him, interested members of the public can log into the internet designated website and select any of the items listed on the purchase list.

Speaking further, Mohammed said the seizures including vehicles and drugs are worth N16,082,092,706.

The drugs, according to him, were intercepted on the road from a border area in Ogun State.

He said codeine drugs are prohibited from being sold across the counter due to incessant abuses warning that smuggling it into the country will endanger lives of citizens.

He said: “We have seized the skin in two containers. As you can see, this is massive. One can only imagine how many donkeys have been killed to have this large number of donkey skin in two containers.

“We didn’t see the meat and it is possible they are being sold out to people as beef. As customs officers, we are going beyond duty collection to protect lives of people.

” This seizure is part of our effort to prevent the mass killing of donkeys and discourage people from seeing it as a business opportunity.

“We also made seizures of codeine that is prohibited but was concealed with pain relief drugs without NAFDAC approved number valued at N101.6million.

“Within one hour, our officers seized 13 vehicles last week.  Now we have a total of 29 exotic cars including a 2019 Land Cruiser. Total duty paid value for the seized vehicles is N712,172,706.”

Mohammed added that the unit will intensify it’s onslaught against smuggling to suppress it for the protection of the economy and prevention of danger to lives.