By Kenneth Jukpor
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday revealed the seizure of 40 containers of tramadol valued at N7,318,978,065.00 as well as two helicopters declared as cashewnuts for export.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) who displayed the items at the Apapa Command in Lagos told newsmen that the items came from India.
The Customs boss said 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 Customs.
“I commend the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moiisola Adeyeye and her management team for their collaboration in the attainment of this feat” he said.
Meanwhile, he lamented that 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.
He disclosed that the importers of the items had offered a whooping sum of N150million just for one container to be released to them, expressing delight that his officers rejected the bribe.
He told newsmen, “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 investigation will be thorough to bring all those remotely connected to justice”.
The Comptroller-General also said the helicopter and aircraft seized by the Apapa Command were meant for export and they were declared as 388 bags of cashew nuts, an action he said violates section 36 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEKA), cap C45, LFN 2004.
While he promised to fish out the those behind export of both helicopter and aircraft, Ali added, “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 seized because of the failure of the owner(s) to present: (1). End-User-Certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser, and (ii). Approval from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority. This is in contravention of Section 46 of CEMA, CapC45, LPN 2004.
Accorrding to him, the seizures of dangerous drugs and aircrafts demonstrate NCS crucial contributions to national economic and security well-being, the rejection of N150million bribe, presents a picture of a reformed NCS whose operatives are increasingly putting national interest above selves.