By Steve Agbota, Lagos

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone C, Owerri, recovered N5.5billion from smugglers and fraudulent importers between January and December, 2023.

It was gathered that the unit intercepted contraband from smugglers worth over N5.35 billion and N152 million from importers who made under declaration at various seaports in the year under review.

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The FOU Zone C covers all the states in the South East and South South regions including Bayelsa, Port Harcourt 1 and 2, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Imo and Akwa Ibom.

It was gathered that contra- band seized were five sacks of pangolin scales, 398 sacks of Indian hemp weighing 8,756kg and another 2,308 parcels compressed of Indian hemp of 1kg each. The five sacks of pangolin scales weighing 413.1kg and the 11,064kg of Indian hemp were the highest, if not arguably the first seizure of such endangered species and hard drugs in the history of the zone.