By Chinonye Anyatonwu
The Men and Officers of
the Western Marine Customs Command of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), has intercepted, made seizures of illicit drugs, others valued at N1, 2billion within three months.
Disclosing these before the news men recently in his command, the acting Customs Area Controller of the command, DC Enonche Ochiba said the seizures was made possible through the efforts of their existing patrol teams that cut across South Wester waterways
Ag.Compt.Ochiba, who resumed duty on 5th July 2021, in his maiden briefing at the Command in Lagos said that he and his men have taken up a personal crusade against smugglers and economic saboteurs and that with the support of his principal, the Customs CG, that made it possible.
He stated that, “Upon my assumption of office, I re-organized the anti-smuggling activities of the Officers and Men of the Command thereby consolidating on the successes of my predecessor in line with the policy thrust of the Comptroller-General of Customs”.
In view of the above, a new team code named “Comptroller surveillance/Monitoring Patrol Team” was created to complement the efforts of our existing patrol teams cut across South Western waterways”.
He added, “The Officers and Men have from July to date made several seizures ranging from used foreign shoes, second hand clothing, premium motor spirit (PMS), foreign rice, hard drugs among others’.
Still speaking, on Friday, 13 August, the Officers and Men of Coastal and Harbour Patrol together with the Comptroller General Surveillance/Monitoring team while on patrol along Kuramo Beach on the high sea accosted, intercepted and arrested sacks suspected to be Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana), but no arrest was made as the smugglers dived into the sea on sighting the patrol team.
The goods were taken to the WMC and upon physical examination and counting, it was found to be 232 sacks of Marijuana with an average of 46Kg per sack thereby giving an estimated total of 10,672Kg. The Street Value of the Marijuana is One Billion, One Hundred and Twenty Million, Five Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira (N1, 120,560,000.00) only.
On the 9th of September, the operatives of the Command while on Stop and Search operations along the waterways at Pashi of Yekeme axis discovered some powdered substances suspected to be heroine concealed in a carton of a well known brand of noodles. One (1) suspect in connection with the seizure was arrested. The powder was later sent for laboratory test analysis and it was certified to be heroin weighing a total of 1.52Kg valued at Forty Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty One Naira and Two Kobo (N40, 860,841.02k) only.
Similarly, on the 15th of September, 2021, a team of patrol while on credible intelligence along Abumbum-Ojo waterways accosted and intercepted sacks suspected to contain drugs. The sacks were evacuated to the base and upon physical examination, they were found to contain the following drugs that have expired since the 27th of April 2017 with the total value of Sixty Two Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand , Seven Hundred and Ninety Four Naira (N 62,252,794.00) only.
Other seized drugs are 817 Bottles of B-Vital, 1,158 Bottles of Kordy-capsule, 3,110 Bottles of Double Ginseng, 619 Bottles of Detoxin, 607 Bottles of B-care, 198 Sachets of Ninhuang Jeedu pian, 1,200 Sachets of St Formula, 475 Bottles of Apetamin Syrup, 7 Bottles of Spinsure Table, 17 Bottles of Danshen Plus, 7 Bottles of Arthro capsule, 13 Bottles of Spinsore Pill, 123 Bottles of Chitomeal and also Bundles of printed labels of Double Ginseng with Batch no. DG 04021 with MFG Date: 29042021 and expiring Date of 28042024 were seized.
Acting CAC Ochiba noted that these expired drugs might have found its way into our Nigerian market if not intercepted by his operatives, adding that the smuggler intended to replace the expired labels with new labels carrying new manufacturing and expiry date as can be seen on the bundles of printed labels of Double Ginseng accompanying the seized consignment. The new printed label is carrying 29042021 and 28042024 as manufacturing and expiry date respectively.
He added that the command also on 20th September 2021, the Command operatives while on official patrol intercepted Packs of drugs at Yekeme axis. Upon examination, they were found to contain 45 packs of 225mg Tramadol Hydrochloride Tablets with total value of Nine Hundred and Fifty Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Four Naira and Two Kobo (N954,934.02k)
Other seizures made within this period are: Eight Hundred and Eighty Three (883) Bags of 50Kg Foreign Parboiled Rice, Forty Nine (49) Sacks of Used Shoes. Forty Four (44) Sacks of New Shoes, 245 Kegs x 25ltrs of PMS, One (1) 40Hp Yamaha outboard engine, Six (6) bales and Three (3) Sacks of Second hand clothings and bags.
In a related development, on the 9th of July, the Nigerian Navy ship Beecroft handed over 162 x50Kg Bags of smuggled Foreign Rice intercepted at Lagos offshore, though no arrest was made as the smugglers dived into the sea on sighting the Navy Patrol Team. The DPV of the seizures is Five Million, One Hundred and Eighty Four Thousand Naira (#5,184,000.00) only.
In his words, “Let me use this medium to commend the Nigerian Navy for their support towards the anti-smuggling drive of the Command”.
This seizure is a symbol of cordial working relationship with Sister Agencies and also depict that the Security Agencies have no overlapping functions in the discharge of our statutory responsibilities.
“The Total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of all the Seizures under review is One Billion, Two Hundred and Sixty Five Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Nine Naira and Four Kobo(#1,265,830,809.04) only.
Ag. Compt. Ochiba noted that the seizures were made at various outstations of Ere and Akere of Idiroko, Badagry, Yekeme and sea from July to date.
He further stated that the action of the operatives is in line. with the Provisions of Section 149 (Powers to search vehicles/ships and Section 158 (Power to Patrol Freely) of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), officials were on ground to test the drugs and later handed the drugs comprising of Cannabis Sativa and Heroin, including the arrested suspect over to the Area Commander NDLEA, Apapa Special Area Command, Mr. Samuel Bashir Gadzama.
He praised the new acting CAC and his men for their efforts and prays that they will continue to work tirelessly in carrying out their duty and their effort to protect the nation and the citizens.
The acting CAC, DC Ochiba commended the CGC for his support and equally appreciated the press men for their sustained determination towards dissemination of information relating to anti-smuggling drive of the service and further dissuading members of the public on the inherent dangers of smuggling.
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