45 Items You Should Not Be Importing Into Nigeria

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) role in managing the border includes a responsibility to enforce, or assist in the enforcement of, a wide range of import and export prohibitions and restrictions on behalf of a number of government agencies including the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON).

NCS control takes the form of either an absolute prohibition or a restriction on what you can import into Nigeria. These prohibitions and restrictions have been introduced over time for reasons of security, public health, environmental protection, and for maintenance of order and morality.

If there is an absolute prohibition, it means you are not allowed to import the goods into Nigeria under any circumstances. But if it is a mere restriction, importation may be allowed provided you have obtained written permission, from the relevant agency, to do so. For example, pharmaceutical products not listed in Nigeria may be imported provided a written permit is obtained from NAFDAC.

Below are 45 examples of items you should not be importing into the Nigerian Market.

  1. Live or Dead Birds including Frozen Poultry – H.S. Codes 0105.1100 – 0105.9900, 0106.3100 – 0106.3900, 0207.1100 – 0207.3600 and 0210.9900
  2. Pork, Beef – H.S. Codes 0201.1000 – 0204.5000, 0206.1000 – 0206.9000, 0210.1000 – 0210.2000.
  3. Birds Eggs – H.S. Code 0407.0000; excluding hatching eggs
  4. Refined Vegetable Oils and Fats – H.S. Code 1507.1000.00 – 1516.2000.29 [but excluding refined Linseed, Castor and Olive oils. Crude vegetable oil are however NOT banned from importation].
  5. Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form containing added flavouring or colouring matter – H.S. Code 1701.91.1000 – 1701.99.9000 in retail packs.
  6. Cocoa Butter, Powder and Cakes – H.S. Codes 1802.00.0000 – 1803.20000, 1805.001000 – 1805.00.9000, 1806.10.0000 – 1806.20.0000 and 1804.00.0000.
  7. Spaghetti/Noodles – H.S. Codes 1902.1100 – 1902.30.0000.
  8. Fruit Juice in Retail Packs – H.S. Codes 2009.11.0012 – 2009.11.0013 – 2009.9000.99
  9. Waters, including Mineral Waters and Aerated Waters containing added Sugar or Sweetening Matter or Flavoured, ice snow – H.S. Codes 2201.1000 – 2201.90.00, other non-alcoholic beverages H.S. Code 2202.10.00 – 2202.9000.99 [ but excluding energy or Health Drinks {Liquid Dietary Supplements} e.g. Power Horse, Red Ginseng etc] H.S. Code 2202.9000.91 and Beer and Stout (Bottled, Canned or Otherwise packed) H.S. Code 2203.0010.00 – 2203.0090.00
  10. Bagged Cement – H.S. Code 2523.2900.22.
  11. Medicaments falling under Headings 3003 and 3004 as indicated below:
    a. Paracetamol Tablets and Syrups
    b. Cotrimoxazole Tablets Syrups
    c. Metronidazole Tablets and Syrups
    d. Chloroquine Tablets and Syrups
    e. Haematinic Formulations;
    f. Ferrous Sulphate and Ferrous Gluconate Tablets,
    g. Folic Acid Tablets,
    h. Vitamine B Complex Tablet [except modified released formulations].
    i. Multivitamin Tablets, capsules and Syrups [except special formulations].
    j. Aspirin Tablets [except modified released formulation and soluble aspirin].
    k. Magnesium trisilicate tablets and suspensions.
    l. Piperazine tablets and Syrups
    m. Levamisole Tablets and Syrups
    n. Clotrimazole Cream
    o. Ointments – Penecilin/Gentamycin
    p. Pyrantel Pamoate tablets and Syrups
    Intravenous Fluids [Dextrose, Normal Saline, etc.]
  12. Waste Pharmaceuticals – H.S. Code 3006.9200
  13. Soaps and Detergents – H.S. Code 3401.11.1000 – 3402.90.0000 (in retail packs only)
  14. Mosquito Repellant Coils – H.S. Code 3808.9110.91 (Mosquito Coils).
  15. Sanitary Wares of Plastics – H.S. Code 3922.1000 – 3922.9000 and Domestic Articles and Wares of Plastics H.S. Code 3924.1000 – 3924.9090.00 [but excluding Baby Feeding bottles 3924.9020.00] and flushing ceinstern and waterless toos toilets.
  16. Rethreaded and used Pneumatic tyres but excluding used trucks tyres for rethreading of sized 11.00 x 20 and above 4012.2010.00.
  17. Corrugated Paper and Paper Boards – H.S. Code 4808.1000, and cartons, boxes and cases made from corrugated paper and paper boards H.S. Code 4819.1000, Toilet paper, Cleaning or facial tissue – H.S. Code 4818.1000 – 4818.9000 excluding baby diapers and incotinent pads for adult use 4818.4000.41 and Exercise Books – H.S. Code 4820.2000.
  18. Telephone Re-charge Cards and Vouchers – H.S. Code 4911.9990.91
  19. Carpets and other Textile floor coverings falling under H.S. Code 5701.10.000 – 5705.00.0000
  20. All types of Foot Wears, Bags and Suitcases H.S. Codes 6401.1000.11 – 6405.9000.99 and 4202.1100.10 – 4202.9900.99 [but excluding Safety Shoes used in oil industries, Sports Shoes, canvass shoes all Completely Knocked Down (CKD) blanks and parts]
  21. Hollow Glass Bottles of a capacity exceeding 150mls (0.15 litres) of all kinds used for packaging of beverages by breweries and other beverage and drink companies – H.S. Code 7010.9021.29 and 7010.9031.00.
  22. Used Compressors – H.S. Code 8414.3000, Used Air Conditioners – H.S. Codes 8415.1000.11 – 8415.9000.99 and Used Fridges/Freezers – H.S. Codes 8418.1000.11 – 8418.69.0000.
  23. Used Motor Vehicles above fifteen (15) years from the year of manufacture – H.S. Codes 8703.10.00 – 8703.90.0000
  24. Furniture – H.S. Codes 9401.1000.00 – 9401.9000.99 and 9403.1000 – 9404.9000, but excluding Baby walkers, laboratory cabinets such as microscope table, fume cupboards, laboratory benches (9403), Stadium Chairs, height adjustments device, base sledge, seat frames and control mechanism, arm guide and headguides. Also excluded are; skeletal parts of furniture such as blanks, unholstered or unfinished part of metal, plastics, veneer, chair shell etc. Also excluded are Motor Vehicle seats (9401.2000.00) and Seats other than garden seats or camping equipment, convertible into beds (9401.4000.00)
  25. Ball Point Pens and parts including refills (excluding tip) H.S. Code 9608.10.0000

GOODS: THE IMPORTATION OF WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED

26. Air Pistols

27. Airmail Photographic Printing Paper.

28. All counterfeit/pirated materials or articles including Base or Counterfeit Coin of any Country.

29. Beads composed of inflammable celluloid or other similar substances.

30. Blank invoices.

31. Coupons for Foreign Football pools or other betting arrangements.

32. Cowries.

33. Exhausted tea or tea mixed with other substances. For the purposes of this item, “exhausted tea” means any tea which has been deprived of its proper quality, strength, or virtue by steeping, infusion, decoction or other means.

34. Implements appertaining to the reloading of cartridges.

35. Indecent or obscene prints, painting, books, cards, engraving or any indecent or obscene articles.

36. Manilas.

37. Matches made with white phosphorous.

38. Materials of any description with a design which, considering the purpose for which any such material is intended to be used, is likely in – the opinion of the president to create a breach of the peace or to offend the religious views of any class of persons in Nigeria.

39.  Meat, Vegetables or other provisions declared by a health officer to be unfit for human consumption.

40. Piece goods and all other textiles including wearing apparel, hardware of all kinds’ crockery and china or earthenware goods bearing inscriptions (whether in Roman or Arabic characters) from the Koran or from the traditions and commentaries on the Koran.

41. Pistols disguised in any form.

42. Second-hand clothing.

43. Silver or metal alloy coins not being legal tender in Nigeria.

44. Nuclear Industrial waste and other Toxic waste

45. Spirits: –
Other than –

  • Alcoholic bitters, liqueurs, cordials and mixtures admitted as such in his discretion by the Comptroller-General and which are not deemed to be injurious spirits within the meaning of any enactment or law relating to liquor or liquor licensing.
  • Brandy, i.e. a Spirit Distilled in Grape-growing countries from fermented grape juice and from no other materials and Stored in wood for a period of three years;
  • Drugs and medicinal spirits admitted as such in his discretion by the Comptroller-General.
  • Gin, i.e. Spirit- Produced by distillation from a mixed mash of cereal grains only saccharified by the diastase of malt and the Flavoured by redistillation with juniper berries and other vegetable ingredients and of a brand which has been notified as an approved brand by notice in the Gazette and in containers labeled with the name and address of the owner of the brand; or
    Produced by distillation at least three times in a pot-still from mixed mash or barley, rye and maize saccharified by diastase of malt – and then rectified by re-distillation in a potstill after the addition of juniper berries and other vegetable materials.
  • Methylated or denatured spirit, i.e. – Mineralized Methylated spirit mixed as follows: – To every ninety parts by volume of spirits nine and one-half parts by volume of wood naphtha and one-half of one part by volume of crude pyridine and to every 455 litres of the mixture 1.7 litres of mineral naphtha or petroleum oil and not less than 0.7 grammes by weight of powdered aniline dye (Methyl violet) and so in proportion for any quantity less than 455 litres; and
    Industrial Methylated spirit imported under license from the Comptroller-General and mixed as follows: – To every ninety-five parts by volume of spirits five parts by volume of wood naphtha and also one-half of one part by volume of the mixture; and
    Spirits denatured for a particular purpose in such manner as the Comptroller-General in any special circumstance may permit;
    Perfumed Spirits
  • Rum i.e. a Spirit – Distilled direct from sugar-cane products in sugar-cane growing countries; and
    Stored in wood for a period of three years.
  • Spirits imported for medical or scientific purposes, subject to such conditions as the Comptroller-General may prescribe;
  • Spirits totally unfit for use as portable spirits admitted to entry as such in the discretion by the Comptroller-General; and
  • Whisky, i.e. a Spirit- Obtained by distillation from a mash or cereal grains saccharified by diastase of malt; and
    Stored in wood for a period of three years.
  • Containing more than forty-eight and one-half per centum of pure alcohol by volume except denatured, medicated and perfumed spirits, and such other spirits which the Comptroller-General, in his discretion, may allow to be imported subject to such conditions as he may see fit to Impose.
  • Weapons of any description which in the opinion of the Comptroller-General are designed for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other similar substance and any ammunition containing or in the opinion of the Comptroller- General or adapted to contain any noxious liquid, gas or other similar substances

This article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.​

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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 140 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: uakpotaire@nlipw.com

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