June 1, 2023

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Customs WMC intercepts cannabis, rice others worth N190m 

Customs WMC intercepts cannabis, rice others worth N190m 

The Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted and handed over 2,520 pieces of cannabis sativa otherwise known as Indian Hemp worth N168 million to the National Agency for Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Controller of the command, Comptroller Abubakar Umar, while showcasing the seized item at a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday said the substances were among other contraband items intercepted by operatives of the command between February and May 2022 with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N190million.

Handing over the items to the Commander, Marine Unit of the NDLEA, Isaac Uzah, Comptroller Umar said operatives of the Command acting on credible intelligence intercepted a wooden boat conveying sacks of the cannabis at Oko-Aja beach.

Customs WMC intercepts cannabis, rice others worth N190m

He said, “On Wednesday, 30 March 2022 at about 0330hrs, the operatives of the Command while on credible intelligence accosted and intercepted a wooden boat at Oko-Aja beach containing sacks suspected to be cannabis sativa.

“The goods were brought to the WMC; upon physical examination and counting, it was found to be 32 sacks, that is 2,520 pieces of cannabis sativa weighing a total of 1,437kg.

“The street value of the marijuana is N168 million. This is a case of absolute prohibition and contravenes Section 24(b) of CEMA Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended.”

Other items seized by the command within the review period include 828 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 30 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) , eight kegs of vegetable oil and eight packs of spaghetti noodles.

Others are 250 sachets of pepper onion tomato, 71 pairs of second-hand shoes, 10 sacks of second hand clothings of four boats and two engines as means of conveyance.

The Customs boss noted that the feat recorded was made possible due to the commitment of officers and men of the command, effective use of intelligence, information gathering, surveillance operations, inter-Agency collaboration and intensive patrol of the creeks/waterways by the operatives of the command.

“Since my assumption of duty in the Command as the Area Controller on 21 February 2022, I have together with my Officers/Men ensured that no stone is left unturned at achieving my mandate and that of the Command, in nipping the activities of smugglers in the bud along the South Western Waterways and creeks, which is the jurisdiction of the Command.

“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 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.

“In a related development, on Wednesday 25 May 2022 at about 1900hrs, following credible intelligence, 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 Benin Republic with Duty Paid Value of N29, 684,000.00 only.


“Similarly, the operatives of the command have at different locations Idiroko, Badagry, Bar-Beach and Sea side intercepted different smuggled items which contravene Section 46(c), 167 and 169 of CEMA Cap C45 LFN 2004 as amended.

“The total DPV of the seizures is N190, 145,500.00. Due to the nature of the seized item (PMS), the Command on the approval of the Headquarters auctioned the product and the amount generated as fees has been remitted to the Federation account.

“The action of our 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.

“Unfortunately, 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,” he said.

Customs WMC intercepts cannabis, rice others worth N190m

While appreciating the support of the Comptroller General and his management team, Comptroller Umar stated that the command would continue to strengthen the existing collaboration between the Command and other sister agencies to achieve greater efficiency and curb the menace of smuggling along the South Western waterways and creeks.

He added that the command would continue to engage the traditional and community leaders to address smuggling activities in their axis as well as engage in intensive patrol and surveillance of the waterways to send smugglers out of business.

“To smugglers, I want them to know that smuggling in whatever form is an act of economic sabotage, the Command would ensure that it pursues smugglers to their trenches. Consequently, let me use this opportunity to warn the smugglers and would-be smugglers to abandon their unlawful trade as the Command will soon catch up with them and their illegal wares, with a view to arresting and prosecuting them. It is better for them to turn a new leaf and embrace legitimate trade, so that they can also contribute their quota to the GDP of the Nigerian Economy,” he said.

In his remarks, Commander, Marine Unit of the NDLEA, Isaac Uzah, lauded the command for being supportive of the fight against drugs.

“When this quantity of drugs is removed from circulation, the contribution to national security and other negative consequences is in no small measure.

“The seizure is very important at this particular time because of the hazards of drug trafficking and abuse in our society today. Almost every family is affected one way or the other. So, this is what everybody must put their hands together to fight just as the marine command is demonstrating,” he said.

Picture caption:

Controller, Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Abubakar Umar, (right) handing over the seized cannabis sativa to the Commander, Marine Unit of the NDLEA, Isaac Uzah, at the command in Lagos on Thursday.   


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