Nigeria Customs intercepts N7.32bn worth of Tramadol, seizes N150m bribe

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The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has intercepted 40-by-40 feet containers mostly from India, laden with Tramadol and other pharmaceutical products with a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N7.32 billion, seizing also the $150 million offered to customs officers by importers as bribe while three suspects were arrested.

The Area Command also confiscated two aircraft, a helicopter with registration number SN-BLI, which was intended for export, in container number PONU7789246.

Addressing journalists at the Apapa Area Command yesterday, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.) said the service was not only making concerted efforts to ensure that maximum revenue is collected, but also to safeguard the security and wellbeing of the citizenry.

Speaking on the seizures, he said, “in their criminal desperation, importers of the items offered bribes to the tune of $150 million to my 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 ongoing investigation will be thorough to bring all those remotely connected to justice. While the seizures of the dangerous drugs and aircraft demonstrate NCS’s crucial contributions to national economic and security wellbeing, the rejection of $150 million bribe presents a picture of a reformed NCS whose operatives are unceasingly putting national interest above selves.”

On the helicopter intended for export in container, Ali said it was falsely declared as 388 bags of cashew nuts, pointing out that the action violates Section 36 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45, LFN 2004, while investigations are ongoing to fish out the owner(s) of the helicopter.

He said the second aircraft, a Cessna 182A imported from the United States loaded in container number MRKU 4457663, was intercepted by officers of the Area Command. He hinted that 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 End-User-Certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, and approval from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, which is contravention of Section 46 of CEMA, Cap C45, LFN 2004.

The Customs boss, therefore, commended Customs Area Controller, officers and men of Apapa Command for their exemplary commitment to duty, stressing that, “the Service achieved this feat through vigilance and intelligence gathering within the system, as well as information from the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC. I commend the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, and her management team for their collaboration in the attainment of this feat.”

However, he lamented that it is indeed worrisome to note that there are some Nigerians who are ready to make money at the expense of human lives by bringing in such quantity of drugs that have grave consequences behalf and national security.

He noted: “we 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 security and health of the nation at great risks. Terrorists, kidnappers and other criminal drugs to perpetrate their heinous activities.”

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