Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Apapa Area Command on Thursday said it intercepted 40-by-40 foot containers of Tramadol and other pharmaceutical products worth over N7.3 billion imported from India.
The Service also seized two aircraft, a helicopter with registration number SN-BLI, which was intended for export but was falsely declared as 388 bags of cashew nuts.
He said the second aircraft, a Cesena 182A imported from the United States of America was declared through SGD NO. C130308 and was seized because of failure of the owners to present End User Certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser and approval from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.
This, according to Ali, is in contravention of Section 46 of CEMA, CapC45, LPN 2004.
Ali, who expressed concern over the importation of tramadol and other illicit items, said such posed a great risk to the security and health of the nation.
“We are 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 the security and health of the nation at great risk. Terrorists, kidnappers and other criminal elements get hold of these uncustom goods such as controlled drugs to perpetrate their heinous activities.
“It 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 said.
According to Ali, “The Service is not making concerted efforts to ensure that only maximum revenue is collected, but also to safeguard the security and well-being of the citizenry.”
Ali further said that importers of the tramadol offered bribes to the tune of N150 million to Customs officers to effect the release of just one container with promises of even bigger sums to follow in the event that, their first attempt succeeded but the officers played along and eventually arrested three suspects with the money.
He however assured that investigation is on-going to bring all those connected to importation of the contraband drugs to justice.
He said, “While the seizures of dangerous drugs and aircrafts demonstrate NCS crucial contributions to national economic and security well-being, the rejection of N150 million bribes presents a picture of a reformed NCS whose operatives are increasingly putting national interest above selves.”
Ali commended Moiisola Adeyeye, director-general, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), whose collaboration led to the seizures.