…Know Your Customers, ANLCA Vice President Warn Freight Forwarders
The Nigeria Customs Service on Thursday announced the interception of large kilograms of cocaine as well as other assorted drugs worth N4.2b at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.
While showcasing the drugs to press men, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi explained that a combination, especially with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), resulted in the seizure.
The Customs chief said the service officers seized 56.39kg of Cocaine valued at N2,368,380,000 and 955kg of Colorado Indica valued at N1,911,400,000, all with street value of N4.279 Billion Naira.
In addition to the drugs the command also seized 5 pistols and 445 rounds of live ammunition and several empty pistol magazines.
Giving a detailed breakdown of the seizures Adeniyi said “NCS is pleased to provide an update on the outcomes of its collaboration, particularly with the NDLEA, resulting in the successful interception and seizure of various illicit substances. The seized items include:
” 65 packets of Colarado Indica weighing 32.5kg seized from 1X40FT Container No. UACU 534833/6 imported from Canada.
ii. 17 packets weighing 16.690kg confirmed to be Cocaine, 151 packets Colarado Indica weighing 107 kg, One (1) piece Gen2 Air soft pistol with serial No. 471908, empty magazine, 49 rounds of 7.62 mm live ammunition, 197 rounds of 9mm live ammunition, precursor chemicals for the manufacture of crystal methamphetamine, 8bags weighing 25kg tartaric acid, 100kegs of unspecified substances seized from 1x40ft Container No. MSCU 458177/0 imported from Durban South Africa.
“iii. 40packets weighing39.7kg confirmed to be Cocaine, 1026 packets weighing 688.2kg confirmed to be Colarado Indica, Two (2) pistols without serial numbers, one pistol with SerialNo. AZYSRA6YSO12101181, three (3) empty magazines, 275rounds of 5.5mm M16 Tavor live ammunition, Six rounds of 9mm blank ammunition seized from in 1x40ft container No. THRU 796807/1imported from Durban South Africa
iv. 226 packets weighing 128kg confirmed to be Cannabis Indica seized from 1x40ft Container No.MEDU 785276/3 imported from Durban South Africa.
6. The summary of the seized substances is 56.39kg of Cocaine valued at N 2,368,380,000, 955kg of Colorado Indica valued at 1,911,400,000, all with street value of N4.279 Billion Naira. The summary of the weapons seized is 5 pistols and 445 rounds of live ammunition and several empty pistol magazines” Adeniyi said.
The Customs boss said the collaborative efforts with the NDLEA have proven effective in pooling resources and intelligence to safeguard the nation’s borders. In his words, “In recognition of the threats and the collaborative nature of criminal activities, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has steadfastly prioritized strategic partnerships with stakeholders over the past seven months.
“This deliberate focus aims to harness the specialized expertise of our partners in a manner that enhances our capability to fulfil our core mandates.
“Just as criminals find strength in collaboration, government agencies must equally appreciate the advantages of working collectively to fulfil their statutory responsibilities. It is within this context that the ongoing collaborative efforts between the NCS and the National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have consistently yielded positive results.
“This collaborative synergy exemplifies the effectiveness of pooling resources and intelligence, reinforcing the commitment of both agencies to safeguarding the nation’s borders and protecting its citizens from the threats posed by illegal substances”
The items handed over include: 65 packets of Colorado, a strain of cannabis weighing 32.5kg seized from 1X40FT Container No. UACU 534833/6 imported from Canada; 17 parcels of cocaine weighing 16.690kg; 151 parcels of Colorado weighing 107kg; some precursor chemicals among others seized from 1x40ft Container No. MSCU 458177/0 imported from Durban South Africa; 40 packets of cocaine weighing 39.7kg; 1026 packets of Colorado weighing 688.2kg seized from 40ft container No. THRU 796807/1 imported from Durban South Africa and 226 packets of Colorado weighing 128kg seized from 40ft container No. MEDU 785276/3 imported from Durban South Africa.
Also speaking at the event Chairman of NDLEA,Brig Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa commemded Adeniyi for the synergy between the two law enforcement agencies, saying the collaboration is a strong warning to drug cartels that they’ll continue to lose their investments in the criminal trade.
In his remarks, after taking over the drugs Marwa who was represented at the ceremony by the Agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said the “handing over of seized illicit drugs in custody of the Nigeria Customs Service is a development that speaks volumes about the hard work and diligence of security agencies tasked with securing the territory of our country. The seizure is a testament that, just like the airports, the sea ports are also secured.
“That we are here today doing this is a testament to the cooperation we received from the Nigeria Customs Service. This level of cooperation between NDLEA and Customs, as well as other security agencies and port stakeholders, is a strong signal to drug cartels that our ports and indeed Nigeria, will not be a haven for their criminal business.
“The synergy between Customs and NDLEA would further ensure the closing of other loopholes that criminal elements may have capitalised on in the past years to smuggle illicit items into our country.”
He expressed appreciation to the leadership, men and officers of the Customs for the collaboration between the Service and NDLEA, not only at Tincan Port but across all areas of responsibilities where the two agencies partner to promote the interest of the country.
According to him, “I will also seize this opportunity to commend the officers and men of the Tin Can Command of NDLEA and other special units, including our K-9 unit, involved in the processes leading to these seizures, for their steadfastness since we received intelligence weeks ago from our international partners on the containers from which these drugs were recovered as they departed the port of loading.
“The command and other units had diligently tracked the movement of the containers up to the time of their landing in our port. In the spirit of inter-agency collaboration, NDLEA never hesitated to share intelligence with the Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service and also requested that the command ensure the containers were pinned down for 100 percent examination.
Marwa assured that NDLEA, Nigeria Customs and other security organisations remain committed to ensuring that the country’s territorial integrity is prprotected.
While commending the efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service in apprehending the seizures, the National Vice President of ANLCA, Prince Segun Oduntan said that this is a wake up call for all freight forwarders to carryout a KYC (Know your Customers) before embarking on any cargo clearance job.
Speaking, the ANLCA number two man said “The seizure did not come to us as a supprise, because even in the advanced world they have not been able to eradicate it totally. But what the customs and NDLEA are doing is optimal performance of their responsibilities, and they just have to continue to up their game
“We would continue to talk to our customers about their KYC (Know Your Customers) if you know your customers, you would not fall into issues like this.
“We would continue to talk to our members to know who they are really dealing with in order to exonerate themselves.
“As for the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) our integrity is intact and not in doubt. The Nigeria Customs Service of today is different from yesteryear, they have improved and they are collaborating with other agencies including our association, so, it is now a collective job, not Customs alone”