The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has handed over 20 cartons of 120 mg and 225mg of Trapaking tablets, a new brand of the prohibited Tramadol estimated at N1.560billion to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Addressing newsmen during the handover of the drugs to NDLEA at Classic bonded terminal in Lagos on Wednesday, newly appointed Controller of the Command, Comptroller Auwal Muhammed said the drugs concealed with sweets inside a 1/40-foot container were falsely declared as driving shafts and candy sweet.
He said the drugs were however, uncovered as a result of meticulous inspection and examination carried out on the container.
“Today, we are here to witness the handing over of the illicit drugs in the class of tramadol concealed in a 1/40 container consisting of 838,500 pieces of Trapaking tablets of 225 milligram and 90,010 pieces of Trapaking capsules of 120 milligram domiciled at classic bonded terminal to the NDLEA on the directive of the Comptroller General of Customs for further investigation and possible prosecution of the suspects.
“What they declared to us was driving shaft and candy sweet. But as a result of our meticulous inspection, 100 percent examination was conducted on the container and no driving shaft was found even the alleged candy sweet they mentioned was not in the container. What we have there is gummy pop which is another brand of sweet. So it’s a clear case of false declaration with concealment in an attempt to deceive the security agents so that they can smuggle in the illicit drugs into the country,” he said.
Comptroller Muhammed noted that although the addresses provided by the clearing agent and importer were fake, investigations are ongoing to apprehend both suspects and ensure they are prosecuted.
He said the license of the agent and the Tax Idenfication Number (TIN) of the importer have been blocked to prevent them from any import transactions.
According to the Customs boss, “We tried to trace them through the addresses they gave but the addresses are fake and so we could not trace them there. They have been on the run and we are in search of them and sooner or later, we are going to catch up with them and they must face the wrath of the law.”
Comptroller Muhammed who decried the menace of importation of illicit drugs on national security and how it continues to wreck havoc on the youth assured that the command will continue to partner the NDLEA in making the Apapa port environ a no go area for importers of illicit drugs.
He appealed to intending importers to imbibe the spirit of patriotism noting that the quest for quick money by fraudulent importers at the expense of national security would be frustrated by the command under his watch.
Receiving the drugs, NDLEA Commander of Narcotics, Apapa Special Command, Udotong Noah Essien, expressed appreciation to the Customs boss for the synergy just as he assured that the NDLEA will continue to partner with Customs as the lead agency in the port to curb any attempts to import illicit drugs through the Apapa port.
“Without the collaboration of Customs, this seizure won’t be possible. We know the implication of these drugs on national security, health and the economy. So we are grateful to Customs for this.
“We want to assure Customs and Nigerians that we are going to take this investigation to a logical conclusion. We did not take this collaboration with Customs for granted. We will continue to partner with the NCS in every aspects even in trade facilitation and in making sure that Apapa port is a no go area for drug traffickers,” he said.