59 containers of tramadol seized in November; importers shift to Rivers State
Since the ban on the use of tramadol and codeine among other psychotropic drugs, there has been an upsurge importation with the month of November recording a huge haul of 59 seized 40-foot containers.
To beat men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) the importers have moved their activities to Onne port in Rivers State, investigations have shown.
Tramadol appear to be the hottest on consumers demand list.
This week, men of the customs seized nine 40ft containers of tramadol and other controlled drugs with duty paid value of N3.06 billion at Onne Port, Rivers State.
Mr Augustine Chidi, the Deputy Comptroller General of Customs in-charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, announced the seizure in Port Harcourt.
Chidi said the containers were falsely declared as containing PVC ball valves and general goods.
“You will recall that last week, Nigerian Customs Service announced the seizure of 50 containers in Lagos.
“This brings to a total of 59 containers of controlled drugs so far seized within this month,’’ Chidi said.”
He said that the importation contravened “Section 46 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap 45 LFN’’.
Chidi said that the Comptroller General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali, ordered a thorough investigation to bring perpetrators to justice.
“Let me assure you that the NCS will not relent on its role of contributing to national economic and security well-being of Nigerians by ensuring that items that can negatively affect the citizenry are not allowed into the country,’’ he said.
According to him, NCS is increasingly relying on intelligence and technology to make it difficult for smugglers to have their way.
He called on the public, especially border community dwellers and port users to desist from importing illicit goods.
Chidi also called for public support for better performance by NCS and expressed concern that Nigeria was experiencing increasing attempts by unpatriotic elements to smuggle dangerous drugs into the country.
He said the increasing smuggling of controlled drugs into the country could be traced to the Christmas and New Year season as well as the coming elections in 2019.
According to him unscrupulous business men were exploiting the market provided by the seasons and elections in which some politicians might want to engage the youth in unwholesome activities.
“These elements are morally bankrupt and willing to make money at the expense of human lives. We must stop them as we all have a duty to protect our nation,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Controller, Area II Command of NCS, Comptroller Aliyu Saidu, said the command would perform better when it received one of the three scanners approved by the Federal Executive Council for the customs.
“It will greatly assist our command in checking crime and increase our revenue base,’’ Saidu said.