The re-organized anti-smuggling activities of Officers and Men of the Western Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service has gave way to another millstone achievement in ithe Command antismuggling operation.
The new Area Controller of the Command, Dc Eneche Ochiba who took over activities from Comptroller Peters on the 5th of July 2021 as the Ag. Customs Area Controller made it known to news men on Friday that upon his assumption of office, he re-organized the anti-smuggling activities of the Officers of the Command thereby consolidating on the successes of his predecessor in line with the policy thrust of the Comptroller-General of Customs.
Ag Controller Ochib, while briefing news men on the anti-smuggling feat of the Command since he took over office
disclosed that from July to date the Command made several seizures ranging from used foreign shoes, second hand clothing, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), foreign rice, hard drugs among others.
He disclosed that he created a new team code named “Comptroller surveillance/Monitoring Patrol Team” to complement the efforts of the existing patrol teams cut across South Western waterways.
Adding that the effort yielded outstanding result, he said “On Friday, 13 August 2021, the Officers/Men of Coastal and Harbour Patrol together with the Comptroller Surveillance/Monitoring while on patrol along Kuramo Beach on the high sea accosted, intercepted and arrested sacks suspected to be Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana). Pertinently, no arrest was made as the smugglers dived into the sea on sighting the patrol team.
“The goods were brought to the WMC; upon physical examination and counting, it was found to be 232 sacks of Marijuana with an average of 46Kg per
sack giving an estimated total of 10,672kg.
He added that the Street Value of the Marijuana is One Billion, One Hundred and Twenty Million, Five Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira (NI,120,560,000.00) only,
Explaining further, the command boss said that on Thursday 9th September 2021 at about 2230hrs, the operatives of the Command while on Stop and Search operations along the waterways at Pashi of Yekeme axis discovered some powder substances suspected to be heroine concealed in a carton of Indomie noodles, the powder was later sent for laboratory test analysis and it was certified to be heroin weighing a total of 1.52Kg valued at Forty Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty One Naira and Two Kobo (N40, 860,841.02k) only.
He disclosed that one suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure.
Expressing his fear and concern on the damage caused by consumption of hard drugs he hinted more on the seized drugs and other medicaments “Barely a week later, Wednesday 15 September 2021to be precise at about 0020hrs, a team of patrol while on credible intelligence along Abumbum-Ojo waterways accosted and intercepted sacks suspected to contain drugs.
“The sacks were evacuated to the base and upon physical examination, they were found to contain the following drugs that have expired on the 27 April 2017 with the total value of Sixty Two Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand , Seven Hundred and Ninety Four Naira (N 62,252,794.00) only.
He listed other seized items to 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, 7 Bottles of Spinsure Table, 17 Bottles of Danshen Plus, 7 Bottles of Arthro capsule, 13 Bottles of Spinsore Pill ,123 Bottles of Chitomeal.
Bundles of printed labels of Double Ginseng with Batch no. DG 04021 with MFG Date: 29/04/2021 and expiring Date of 28/04/2024.
He added that the issue of concern on the arrest is that the expired drugs might have found its way into our Nigerian markets if not intercepted by the operatives of the Command.
According to the Ag Controller, the smuggler intend to replace the expired labels with a new labels carrying new manufacturing and expiry date 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.
Also on Monday 20 September 2021 at about 1200hrs, the command operatives while on official patrol intercepted Packs of drugs at Yekeme axis. Upon examination, it was found to contain 45 packs of 225mg Tramadol Hydrochloride Tablets with total value of Nine Hundred and Fifty Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Four Naira sad Two Kobo (N954,934.02k)
Meanwhile, the other seizures made within this period are listed to include; 883 Bags of 50Kg foreign parboiled rice, 49 sacks of used shoes, 44 sacks of new shoes, 245 kegs x 25lus of PMS, (1) 40Hp Yamaha outboard engine, 6 bales and 3 scks of second hand clothing and bags.
Speaking on inter-angency collaboration, Dc Ochiba hinted that the synergy between NCS and the other government agencies has always been robust, he added that they always work to compliment each other.
In his word, he disclosed that ” In a related development, on Friday 9th July 2021; the Nigerian Navy ship Beecroft handed over 162bags of 5OKg smuggled foreign rice intercepted at Lagos offshore, though no arrest was made as the smugglers dived into the sea on sighting the Navy Patrol Team.
” The DPV of the seizure is five million, one hundred and eighty four thousand Naira only”.
He however commend the Nigerian Navy for their support towards the antismuggling drive of the Command. Noting that the 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 their statutory responsibilties.
He however hand over the Cannabis Sativa, Heroin and the arrested suspect to the Area Commander NDLEA, Apaps Special Area Command,
On his part, while receiving the seized hard drugs and exipired supplement, Assistant Commander General, Narcotic of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Samaila Gadzama commends the outstanding performance of the officers and men of the Command for feast.
Samaila Gadzama said that one can not claim what does not exist, noting that it is clear that synergy is at work with what is seen on ground.
The drug law enforcement boss said that as far as he is concerned, he is convince that the western marine command of the Nigeria Customs Service is working very hard, not just working very hard but working hard with result.
According to him “Between April and now we are talking of about 17tons which is not a tea party, not an arm chair investigation. They are there, they are working with results to show. I am impressed, I have a very high regard and respect for them”
Responding to questions from news men on the next line of action after receiving the hard drugs, Samaila says “If we have suspect, they will be prosecuted , after the prosecution we will seek the orders of the court for distruction , once the order is granted, we will then embark on the distroction publicly where all stakeholder will be present including the customs, which is always at our distroction site in badagry
“But if their is no suspect we still will have to seek the orders of the court as abandoned seizures before proceeding to destroy it.
“Heroine is bad and barnes world wide, it has no medicinal use or is it the canabis or tramadol. Tramadol is controlled , it is a pain killer but not this milligrams, the tramadol NAFDAC approves is between 50 to 100mg but this particular one is poison, it is 225mg, it is narcotic and people who have health challenges in needs of pain killers will not take this. Criminals are the ones taking this because it keeps them awake and alert to perpetrate their evil acts, none of this drugs here have industrial use”. The NDLEA boss quipoed.