The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced the seizure of an ambulance stationed at the port for emergency purpose for conveying 10 cartons of 225 miligram (mg) of stolen Tramadol out of Apapa Port.
The Hyundai Ambulance with registration number LND605XW was intercepted with the drugs worth about N2.8 million, while trying to smuggle it out of the ports in an emergency manner.
Controller, Apapa Command, Muhammad Abba-Kura, who paraded the vehicle and the drugs in Apapa Port , said two suspects were arrested in connection with the deal.
Abba-Kura stated that investigations are ongoing to further uncover those behind the deal
He said: “On the night of Friday 12, July, 2019, at about 2300 hours (11.00pm), my officers on routine surveillance intercepted an ambulance suspected to be laden with offending articles of trade. Upon examination, the ambulance was discovered to be carrying 10cartons of 225mg Tramadol tablets valued at N2.8 million.”
The federal government through the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) banned the importation of Tramadol in excess of 100mg.
According to Abba-Kura, further investigations revealed that the drugs were stolen from a container waiting for examination inside the port.
About 211 cartons were missing from the containers, while the balance is yet to be traced. The Duty paid Value of the drugs was estimated at N59.3 million.
The customs comptroller said: “It is regrettable to state that while the customs is working round the clock to free this country of illicit goods, some recalcitrant and unpatriotic citizens are not relenting in their desperate urge to sabotage our efforts.“
He assured that anybody caught wanting in connection with the deal would be charged to court of competent jurisdiction for proper prosecution.
Abba Kura said the Apapa command has realised about N20 billion in the last 12 working days (July1 to 15, 2019).
In his confessional statement, the driver of the ambulance Michael Ajibade, said that he was offered the sum of N2000 to move the illicit substance out of the port.
He said: “It was one Yusuf who contracted me to move the items out of the port using my ambulance. I was at the car wash located inside the port when he approached me. He told me that it was cartons of soap and offered to pay me N2000. I saw it as an easy way to make quick money but I never knew that I will be caught. I beg the government to forgive me, I did it out if ignorance and with the urge to make ends meet.”
One his part, the escort who was also identified as Olatunde Emmanuel said that he was a dockworker and that he was offered the sum of N50, 000 to follow the ambulance driver out of the gate.
“My job is to follow the ambulance driver so that he will not run away with the consignment. The owner met me at the car wash and offered to pay me N50, 000. He told me that the content of the carton is soap. I was shocked when it turned out to be Tramadol,” he said.