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We are Intolerant to Illicit Drugs Smuggling into Nigeria

Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede, Customs Area Controller, Tin Can Island Port Area Command

…. suspects pleaded to be freed from detention and release of the containers by offering a bribe of N50 million to Customs officers

In a major haul, the Customs Area Controller of Tincan Island Port Area Command, Lagos, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede, has announced the busting of unregistered pharmaceuticals concealed in 2×40 ft. containers smuggled into the country through the port.

The illicit drugs imported and concealed in the two containers are Tramadol, Hydrochloride Carisoprodol capsule, Resistant Omeprazole capsule BP 200mg, and CSMIX cough syrup containing Codeine among others.

Briefing newsmen including Inside Watch Africa (IWA) correspondents on the seizures at the Area Command, Comptroller Oloyede said the busting followed a timely intelligence from the Command’s Customs Intelligence Unit on the suspected importation of illicit dangerous drugs.

He said the unregistered regulated pharmaceutical products were concealed in two by 40ft containers with Bill of lading Nos. 227578945 and 227898171. 

The controller said: “On arrival of the vessel in Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT), the containers (MRSU 592397/0 and MRKU 553432/1) were transferred immediately to the Enforcement Station for 100% physical examination and further investigation.

“The physical examination was conducted on both containers by Enforcement Officers, Customs Intelligence Operatives, Customs Police, and Examination officers of the Terminal on Tuesday, 22 August 2023 at about 14:00hours and Wednesday, 23 August 2023 at about 13:00hours, respectively.

“The following were discovered: Container No MRSU 592397/0, which had one thousand and sixteen (1,016) packages containing electrical goods such as ceiling fans 36 Jewel (cooper) and Chilly Cutters (Stainless Steel + Plastic) as the details on the Bill of Lading with No 227578945, was found to contain: (I.) Five (5) cartons of Timaking 120 Tapentadol (Tramadol) Hydrochloride Carisoprodol capsule.

“Each carton contains 50 rolls, each roll contains 5 packets, each packet 200 tablets. (II.) Eighty-four (84) cartons of Gastro Resistant Omeprazole capsule BP 200mg, each carton contains 50 packets, each packet contains 10 capsules. (III.) Eight Hundred and Seventy-Six (876) cartons of CSMIX cough syrup containing Codeine (each bottle 100ml). 

“Each carton contains 200 bottles. (IV.) Fifty (50) cartons of Manual Grater Machine – 70 pieces per carton as a means of concealment. (V.) One (1) carton of Ceiling Fan as a means of concealment.

“The second container with container No MRKU 553432/1, had; One Thousand and Twenty-One (1,021) packages containing Electrical Goods Ceiling Fan 36 Jewel (Cooper) and Chilly Cutter (Stainless Steel Plastic) stated on its Bill of Landing with number 22789817 1.

“But after examination, the container was found to contain: (I.)Ten (10) cartons of Super Royal 225 (Tramadol). Each carton contains 50 rolls, each roll contains 10 packets each packet 10 tablets. (II.) One Hundred and Five (105) cartons of Omeprazole Capsule BP 200mg. Each carton contains 50 packets, each packet contains 10 capsules. (III.) Seven Hundred and Fifty-Four (754) cartons of Barcadin with Codeine (each bottle 100ml). 

“Each carton contains 200 Bottles. (IV.) Fifty (50) cartons of Manual Grater Machine – 70 pieces per carton as a means of concealment. (V.) One (1) carton of Compo Ceiling Fan as means of concealment.”

Comptroller Oloyede also said: ”The unregistered pharmaceutical products intercepted are regulated products by NAFDAC and didn’t have the required permits and certificates for importation in which the documents are to ascertain the safety of the products to Nigerians, hence these illicit drugs were concealed.” 

Two suspects have been arrested and are presently in the custody of the enforcement unit by the processing process of the Nigeria Customs Service,” he said.

One of the suspects, Boniface Ike, confessed that he was the owner that is the importer of the two containers and sought to discuss privately with OC Enforcement DC GI Aliyu AND Team Manager CIU AC H Abubakar. 

Comptroller Oloyede told Newmen: “I instructed my officers to play along the request was granted in expectation to elicit vital information from the suspect but to their bewilderment, the suspect pleaded for this freedom from detention and release of the containers while offering gratification to the tune of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira Only). 

“The suspect brought the dollar equivalent which is $54,330 (Fifty-Four Thousand Three Hundred and Thirty Dollars only). The money was collected and kept in safe custody at the Enforcement Unit to be tendered as an exhibit and it is hereby displayed for you to see”.  

He said that the Nigeria Customs Service will not be a part of nefarious acts that are inimical to the safety and lives of the citizens of Nigeria, adding that any fraudulent importer or agent who tries to perpetrate such acts will be brought to book.

Comptroller Oloyede said that all information on the said containers has been forwarded to the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters, Abuja, and approval was granted for this press briefing. 

The suspects, containers, and the exhibit will be handed over to the agencies that are in charge of regulation of such importation as soon as the Service directs and the Service may decide to prosecute according to the Service Act, Nigeria Customs Service Act (2023), he assured.

The Controller said in addition to the above seizure, following an intensive surveillance operation on a routine examination carried out at Tincan Island Container Terminal on Container No. TTNU 804678/9 with declaration lodged on SGD CNo: 70754 of 24/08/2023, the Container was found to contain frozen poultry products. 

The Single Goods Declaration (SGD) and other supporting documents (Form M and PAAR) stated Tangerines were used to conceal the frozen poultry products imported. The goods were falsely declared as they are Import Prohibition (Trade), and the Container has been seized for contravention of Section 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act (2023), he added.

The Controller said the persistent fraudulent nature of importers and agents has driven his officers and men to be more innovative in putting in place methods and measures to combat smuggling activities as well as to ensure that there is no leakage of revenue to the government and the endangering of the safety of Nigerians. 

He said that the Command in particular and the Service, in general, will deploy all necessary resources and strategies at their disposal and collaborate with other security and regulatory agencies to check the menace of illegal importation of illicit and unregulated dangerous drugs and substances.

Comptroller Oloyede, however, thanked all the strategic partners for partnering with the Command to ensure the sustained protection of Nigerian society


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