By Chinonye Anyatonwu
The Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has on Thursday, 26 May, 2022 revealed that the Command has intercepted Cannabis Sativa, others worth N168m between February and May 2022, on Lagos waterways.
Showcasing the seizures before the media, Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Abubakar Umar, said that the illicit hard drugs were seized on the 30th March, 2022 after credible information was giving by the officers of the Command.
Compt. Umar who resumed duty as the Area controller on the 21February 2022, said he will ensure that his officers and men will leave no stone unturned at achieving his mandate and that of the command.
According to him, “On Wednesday, 30th of March, 2022, at about 0330hours, the operatives of the command while on credible intelligence accosted and intercepted a wooden boat at Oko-Ajah beach containing sacks suspected to be Cannabis Sativa.
“Upon physical examination, it was found to contain 32 sacks (2,520 pieces) of Cannabis Sativa weighing 1,437kg.
“The Street Value of the Marijuana is N168, 000,000.00 only. This is a case of absolute prohibition and contravenes Section 24(b) of CEMA Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended.
“On Thursday 7 April 2022 at about 1930hrs; our operatives while on credible intelligence along Badagry waterways intercepted and seized One wooden boat laden with Foreign Parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from the Benin Republic. The smuggled foreign rice and its means of conveyance were brought to the Command for examination. On physical examination, it was found to be 503 Bags of foreign parboiled rice.
It was on record that On Wednesday 25 May 2022 the operatives of the Command intercepted and arrested Two wooden boats laden with foreign parboiled rice at Oniru Beach. The boats and the smuggled foreign rice were counted and found to be 136 Bags of foreign parboiled rice.
“ For the period under review, the operatives of the Command have under my watch arrested and seized a total of 828 Bags of foreign rice suspected to be smuggled from the Benin Republic with Duty Paid Value of N29, 684,000.00) only.
“The seized items includes, Foreign Parboiled Rice concealed in 35 Jerry cans of Vegetable Oil; 30 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS); 8 Kegs of Vegetable Oil; 8 Packs of Spaghetti Noodles; 250 Sachets of Pepper Onion Tomato; 71 Pairs of Second-Hand Shoes; 10 Sacks of Second Hand Clothing; 4 Boats and 2 Engines as means of conveyance.
“The total Duty Paid Value of the seizures is N190, 145,500.00. Due to the nature of the seized items, the Command on the approval of headquarters auctioned the product and the amount generated as fees have been remitted into the Federation Account.
According to Compt. Umar, the seizures were made possible due to the effective use of intelligence, information gathering, surveillance operations, Inter-Agency Collaboration and intensive patrol of the creeks/ waterways by the operatives of officers and men of the command.
“ No arrest was made in connection with these seizures as the smugglers dived into the waters while some took to their heels on sighting the patrol Officers/Men.
The Controller however warned the smugglers to desist from illicit trade stressing that his men will ensure that they pursue smugglers to their trenches.
“Let me use this opportunity to warn smugglers and would be smugglers to abandoned their unlawful trade as the command will soon catch up with them.
Handing over the seized cannabis to the officials of the Nigeria Drugs Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) the Marine Commander of NDLEA, Commander of Narcotics, Isaac Uzah commended the efforts of the customs in its support against the fight on hard drugs.
Continuing, Uzah added that the synergy between the two agencies have started yielding dividends as the seizure made by the command is a big testimony to the synergy.
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