The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Thursday in Lagos announced that has intercepted 40 feet containers loaded with Tramadol and other dangerous drugs from India worth N7.318 billion.
Also, the NCS has said its officers intercepted a helicopter and an aircraft from the United States of America over failure to provide End-User-Certificate and other documents.
Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), who disclosed this to journalists revealed that three suspect, including Customs officers, who cleared the containers have been arrested for further investigation.
According to Ali, “The NCS is making concerted efforts to ensure that not 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 country as importers bring in all manner of items which put the security and health of the country at great risk.
“Terrorists, kidnappers and other criminal elements get hold of these un-custom 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 40 by 40 feet containers, mostly from India, laden with Tramadol and other pharmaceutical products with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N7,318, 978, 065.00.”
He added: “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 (NCS). I commend the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Monisola Adeyeye, and her management team for their collaboration in the attainment of this feat.”
He explained that the second aircraft, a Cesena 182A, imported from the United States which was declared through SGD NO. C130308 was seized because of the failure of the owners to present End User Certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and approval from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.
This, according to him, is in contravention of Section 46 of CEMA, CapC45, LPN 2004.
Ali expressed concern over the importation of tramadol and other illicit items which according to him pose great risk to the security and health of the country.
“We are all aware of the dangers that the deliberate non-compliance to import and export procedures pose to our country as importers bring in all manner of items which put the security and health of the country at great risk. Terrorists, kidnappers and other criminal elements get hold of these un-customs goods such as controlled drugs to perpetrate their heinous activities.
“It is 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. 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,” he said.
The Customs boss explained that importers of the tramadol offered bribes to the tune of N150 million to 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 but the officers played along and eventually arrested three suspects with the money.