The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Command, says it has seized over 20 cartons of hard drugs and has handed over the illicit drugs to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The drugs which were concealed in a 40-ft container were declared as driving shafts by the importer.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Lagos, the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command, Comptroller Awaal Mohammed, said the hard drugs were discovered due to the meticulous 100% physical examination carried out by the officers and men of the Command.
Mohammed said the illicit drugs were packaged in 20 cartons consisting of 838,500 tablets of 200mg and 90,010.
He then appealed to stakeholders to be more patriotic and have the interest of Nigeria at heart.
In his words: ” The idea of wanting to desperately make quick money at the detriment of the national security of the country should be jettisoned.”
According to Comptroller Mohammed, when the containers were opened,contrary to what the importer declared, no driving shaft was found and even the alleged candy sweets weren’t in the container.
“What we saw in the container is Gummy Pop which is a different brand of sweet. So, it isn’t the sweet that matters to the importer but the illicit drugs in the container.
“It is a clear case of false declaration and concealment in an attempt to deceive security agents so that they could smuggle the drugs into the country, ” lnside Watch Africa (IWA) correspondent, who covered the event, quotes the Comptroller as saying.
Sequel to the investigations on the seizure, Comptroller Mohammed said that the Nigeria Customs agent’s licence used for the clearance of illicit drugs has been blocked.
According to him, the address of the licensed agent involved in the consignment was fake, but he assured that the NCS would explore all alternatives to apprehend the culprits including involving Interpol if the perpetrators have already escaped and left the shores of the country.
He, however, expressed worry that the proliferation of hard drugs continues to cause more havoc in the country, pointing out that banditry, kidnappings and armed robbery thrive in the country with the use of hard drugs and substances.
Receiving the hard drugs, the NDLEA Commander, Apapa Command, Mr Udotong Noah Essien, expressed delight at the development even as he assured that NDLEA would continue to partner with the Nigerian Customs Service to bust all attempts to smuggle drugs through the Apapa port and other ports.
“Investigations are still going on and we are partnering with Customs on this. The importer, when arrested will be sentenced to lifetime jail,” Essien said.
He also thanked the Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, retired Brig.-Gen. MB Marwa, for encouraging the robust collaboration and partnership being carried out by the agency, stating that notable accomplishments have been attained since his emergence as the NDLEA boss.