Western Marine Customs Receives Anti-Piracy Equipment from UN, Intercepts Drugs Worth N694million, Arrests Six Suspects

Comptroller Olugboyega Peters signing handing over papers of seized cannabis sativa to Samuel Bashir Gadzama, Apapa Director of NDLEA.

United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has donated Video Teleconferencing CISCO WEBEX equipment to the Western Marine Command (WMC) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in order to fight its anti-smuggling war.

A delegate of the UNODC headed by Miss Siji Song had on the 16 March 2021 visited the Command and handed over the VTC equipment which will aid the operational activities of the Command and will also assist the security agencies in response to the fight against Piracy in the maritime industry.

Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Olugbenga Peters stated this on Friday during a media conference.

Compt Peters assured that the equipment will be fully installed when all the enabling tools are put in place by the Service.

He said the command arrested contrabands including cannabis, rice and others worth over N1.4 billion within the first quarter of 2021.

Most recent among the seizure was the 147 sacks of Marijuana with an average of 45Kg per sack, giving an estimated total of 6,615Kg.

The total Duty paid value (DPV) of the Marijuana is Six Hundred and Ninety Four Million Five Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira (₦694, 575,000.00) only.

Six suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure which was made on Saturday 27th March, 2021 by the operatives of Coastal and Harbour Patrol (Bar-Beach) on credible intelligence along Ibeche Beach on the high sea.

The Customs boss added that the goods together with the suspects were brought to the command and upon physical counting, it was found to be 147 sacks of Marijuana with an average of 45Kg per sack, giving an estimated total of 6,615Kg.

“The total DPV of the Marijuana is Six Hundred and Ninety Four Million Five Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira (₦694, 575,000.00) only.

“The Western Marine Command has had several collaborations with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Director Seaport Operations and it is in view of continuous synergy and its statutory responsibility that we are handing over the marijuana together with the Six (6) suspects to the representative of NDLEA in the interest of National Security.”
Recall that the operatives of the Command made a massive seizure of over 10 tonnes of Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana) valued at over a billion Naira in 2020.

The seizure was said to be the highest single seizure of Cannabis in the history of the service.

Speaking further, Comptroller Peters said the Command had in the 1st quarter of 2021, made a total of 12 Seizures ranging from Rice, marijuana, Second hand clothing and PMS with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Seven Hundred and Twenty Million, Five Hundred and Forty One Thousand Naira (₦720, 541,000.00) only.

Narrating how the seizure was made, he said “On Saturday 27 March 2021; our operatives of Coastal and Harbour Patrol (Bar-Beach) on credible intelligence along Ibeche Beach on the high sea accosted, intercepted and arrested 2 wooden boats laddened with sacks suspected to contain Marijuana HS Code 0602.90 of Common External Tariff (CET) together with 6 suspects as empowered by Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap. C45 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended which states as follows:

Section 149 – Powers to search vehicles/ships

Section 150 – Powers to search persons

Section 158 – Powers to patrol freely

Section 167 – Powers to detain/seize

Section 169 – Powers of forfeiture

“The goods together with the suspect were brought to WMC; upon physical counting it was found to be 147 sacks of Marijuana with an average of 45Kg per sack, giving an estimated total of 6,615Kg.

“The total value of the Marijuana is ₦694, 575,000.00only. The Western Marine Command has had several collaborations with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Director Seaport Operations and it is in view of continuous synergy and its statutory responsibility that we are handing over the marijuana together with the Six (6) suspects to the representative of NDLEA in the interest of National Security.

“Similarly, the Command has in the 1st quarter of 2021 made a total of 12 seizures ranging from rice, marijuana, second hand clothing and PMS with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of ₦720, 541,000.00

“In a bid for United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to fulfill its promise based on the outstanding antig smuggling performance of WMC of installing Video Teleconferencing CISCO WEBEX equipment, the delegate of the UNODC headed by Miss Siji Song had on the 16 March 2021 visited the Command and handed over the VTC equipment which will aid the operational activities of the Command and will also assist the security agencies in response to the fight against Piracy in the maritime industry. The equipment will be fully installed when all the enabling tools are put in place by the Service.

“It is pertinent to know that the task of making our society free from drugs abuse and drugs related substances is a collective one, all hands must be on deck to make our society free from such menace.

“You can imagine the havoc like terrorism, banditry, rape and other crimes, the marijuana of this magnitude may cause in our society if this seizure has not been made by our operatives” Peters said

The Area Controller stated that his men will always be ready to foil any attempt by smugglers to use the waterways for their illegal trade.

Receiving the cannabis of behalf of the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Samuel Bashir Gadzama thanked customs for their role and efforts in intercepting such a huge consignment of drug.

Gadzama who is the Special Area Commander for Apapa Command described the drug as capable of causing problems for the country if allowed access into the hands of our youths.

Before departing with the compressed parcels of drug, Gadzama carried out an on the spot testing of samples witnessed by the media and officials of the NCS to confirm the seized substance is marijuana

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