Unscrupulous Customs Officers,Bonded Terminal Operators Working with Drug Importers, CGC Adeniyi Reveals

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Comptroller Dera Nnadi (3rd left), Customs Area Controller of Tin Can Island Port, showcasing seizures of illicit drugs with the Comptroller General of Customs Wale Adeniyi (4th from left) with other officials in Lagos on Friday

…Showcases Seizure of Illicit Drug Shipments Worth N4.1billion At Tin Can Port

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi has said that there are some unscrupulous Customs officers working with bonded terminal operators in other to facilitate clearance of drug shipments from the port.

The bags of canabis displayed for press men

Adeniyi stated this on Friday when he showcased a landmark seizure of drugs including 1,072kilogrammes of cannabis indica as well as other pharmaceutical drugs worth N4.1billion.

While disclosing the discovery of a syndicate working through the system to subvert government effort in maintaining a drug-free society, Adeniyi assured that the service would soon name and shame, and even arrest those involved.

Adeniyi described the modus operandi of the syndicate to include; movement of imported containers from the port on tranzire without the containers being examined, and rather than go straight to the bonded warehouse in town, the container goes straight to owners premises.

He said “What we have seen reinforces some ongoing attempts by some criminal elements using the network of customs agents, Nigeria customs officers, terminal operators to undermine our system.

“We have seen, recently, a growing number of containers that were either not examined in the port before they are released or those that were stemmed down into terminals, they left the ports on tranzire, but they never got to those terminals and some of them found their ways into the premises of the importers for whatever nefarious activities or the other.

The three plastic drums concealing several packets of Cannabis Indica

“This amounts to where our processes and our procedures are deliberately compromised for their selfish interests. We are looking beyond the facts of revenue lost, we are looking at situations like this if these kinds of drugs have found their ways out of the ports and into the hands of criminal elements, the kind of danger it poses to national security.

“We have gone very far in identifying those elements within the service and outside the service, and we will not spare any of them. We will not spare the customs officers involved, we will not spare the terminal operators, we will not spare those bonded warehouses that uses their facilities as sanctuaries for this kind of illegitimate business.”

Giving a further breakdown of the seized drugs, the CG said they were; Three plastic drums concealing several packets of Cannabis Indica, 46 bags of Cannabis Indica and 2,144 packets of Cannabis Indica all weighing 1,072kilogrammes (kg), with 877 packs cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine.

Seized unregistered pharmaceutical products

The unauthprozed pharmaceuticals includes 200 bottles of 100ml per carton and 82 cartons of Really Extra Diclofenac Sodium 50mg tablets – 600 packs per carton; imported from India.

The customs helmsman acknowledged the collaborative efforts of sister agencies in the current fight against drug trafficking.

“It is within this context that the ongoing collaborative efforts between the NCS and the Nigeria Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have consistently yielded positive results. Recall that in the past, I have reiterated that the collaborative synergy between NCS and its partner agencies exemplifies the effectiveness of pooling resources and intelligence, reinforcing the commitment of our agencies to safeguarding the nation’s borders and protecting its citizens from the threats posed by smuggling.”

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