The Western Marine Command (WMC) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that it intercepted cannabis sativa valued at N1,120,560,000.00 and1.52Kg of heroin worth N40, 860,841.02, intercepted across the South Western waterways, as well as other assorted items.
The Acting Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Enochie Ochiba displayed the items to journalists on Friday, even as he handed over the drugs to Apapa Area Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Mr Bashir Gazama.
He said the items were intercepted during the commands anti-smuggling patrols from July 5 to September 24, 2021.
According to him, the Coastal and Harbour Patrol alongside the Comptroller Surveillance/Monitoring team of the command had intercepted the 232 sacks of cannabis sativa with an average of 46Kg per sack, at an estimated total of 10,672Kg worth N1,120,560,000.00, on Friday, August 13, 2021 while on patrol along Kuramo Beach on the high sea.
Similarly, operatives of the Command while on stop and search operations along the waterways at Pashi, off Yekeme axis on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at about 2230hrs, intercepted the heroin concealed in a carton of indomie noodles weighing a total of 1.52Kg, and valued at N40, 860,841.02.
Comptroller Ochiba said that the Nigerian Navy Beecroft ship handed over 162 x5OKg bags of smuggled foreign rice intercepted at Lagos offshore, with DPV of 5,184,000.00, on Friday, July 9, 2021.
While giving accounts of other activities of the command, the acting CAC stated that on Wednesday September 15, 2021 at about 0020hrs, a patrol team while on credible intelligence along Abumbum-Ojo waterways accosted and intercepted sacks suspected to contain drugs, which was later confirmed to have expired since April 27, 2017 with a total value of N62, 252,794.00. Bundles of printed labels of Double Ginseng with Batch no. DG 04021 with MFG Date: 29042021 and expiring Date of 28042024 was also discovered with the seizures.
The expired drugs include; 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, seven bottles of Spinsure tablets, 17 bottles of Danshen Plus, seven bottles of Arthro capsule, 13 bottles of Spinsore Pill, 123 Bottles of Chitomeal.
The issue of concem on this arrest is that these expired drugs might have found its way into our Nigerian markets if not intercepted by our operatives. The smuggler intend to replace the expired labels with new labels carrying new manufacturing and expiry dates as it 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 said.
The command also seized 45 packs of 225mg Tramadol Hydrochloride tablets valued at N954,934.02 at the Yekeme axis on Monday, September 20, 2021 at about 1200hrs, while on official patrol.
Other seizures made within this period are: 883 bags of 50Kg foreign parboiled rice; 49 sacks of used shoes; 44 sacks of new shoes; 245 Kegs x 25lus of PMS, one 40Hp Yamaha outboard engine; six bales and three three sacks of second hand clothing and bags.
No arrest was made in connection with the cannabis sativa and foreign parboiled rice, as the smugglers dived into the sea on sighting the patrol teams, while the suspect arrested in connection with the heroin seizure was handed over to the NDLEA.
Comptroller Ochiba revealed that the re-organisation of the existing anti-smuggling team and formation of a new one after resuming office in July, as well as inter-agency collaborations have has produced positive results.
He said: “Upon my assumption of office, I re-organized the anti-smuggling activities of the Officers/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.
“The Officers/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.
“Let me use this medium to commend the Nigerian Navy for their support towards the antismuggling 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 responsibihties” he said