By Seun Ibiyemi
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 40by40 containers loaded with Tramadol and other dangerous drugs from India worth N7,318,978,065.00. This is even as the Service said its officers also intercepted an helicopter and an aircraft from the United State of America (USA) over failure to provide End-User-Certificate and other documents.
Disclosing this to journalists on Thursday in Lagos, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) revealed that three suspect, including Customs officers who cleared the containers have been arrested for further investigation.
According to the Customs CGC, “The Service is not making concerted efforts to ensure that only maximum revenue is collected, but also to safeguard the security and well-being of the citizenry.
We are all aware of the dangers that the deliberate non-compliance to import and export procedures pose to our nation as importers bring in all manner of items which put the security and health of the nation at great risk.
Terrorists, kidnappers and other criminal elements get hold of these uncustom goods such as controlled drugs to perpetrate their heinous activities.
It is in line with the determination to fight this ugly trend that the Apapa Command of the Service intercepted 40by40 feet containers, mostly from India, laden with Tramadol and other pharmaceutical products with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N7,318,978,065.00
“The Service achieved this feat through vigilance and intelligence gathering within the system, as well as information from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which is a strong ally of the Nigeria Customs Service.
“I commend the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Moiisola Adeyeye and her management team for their collaboration in the attainment of this feat.
“It is indeed worrisome to note that there are Nigerians who are ready to make money at the expense of human lives by bringing in such quantity of drugs that have grave consequences on health and national security.
“In their criminal desperation, importers of this items offered bribes to the tune of N150million to our officers to effect the release of just one container with promises of even bigger sums to follow in the event that, their first attempt succeeds.
“The Officers played along and eventually arrested three suspects with the money.
“Let me assure you that the on-going investigatin will be thorough to bring all those remotely connected to justice.
“In a related develooment, Apapa Command within this same period seized two aircrafts; a helicopter with Registration Number SN-BLI which was intended for export, in container number PONU7789246?
“It was falsely declared as 388 bags of cashew nuts. This action violates section 36 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEKA), cap C45, LFN 2004. Investigations are ongoing to fish out the owners of the helicopter.
“The second aircraft, a Cessna 182A imported from the United States of America (USA), loaded in container number MRKU 4457663 was intercepted by officers of the Area Command.
“The aircraft which was declared through SGD No. C130308 of 09/10/2018 was