By Sandra Chukwunyere
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Western Marine Comnand Ibafon Apapa , Lagos has again made a huge catch of 232 sacks of Cannabis Sativa with an average of 46Kg per sack, giving an estimated total of 10,672Kg with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of seizures is One Billion, Two Hundred and Sixty-Five Million, Eight Hundred Thirty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Nine Naira and Fifty Kobo (N1,265, 830,809.04) only.
The Ag.Customs Area Controller (CAC), of the Command, Deputy Comptroller Enonche Ochiba disclosed this on Friday while displaying seized items which were of various brands to the media during the press briefing at the Command.
Ag.CAC has once again demonstrated his competence and determination in waging a serious war against Smugglers by sternly warning the economic sabotoures to be weary of their nefarious activities within the Western axis or risk their investment.
Ochiba informed the Newsmen that the Command is well prepared for them and has strategically mapped out plans to wage war against the die-hard Smugglers operating within the Western Comnand’s axis. Assuring them that would be better and wise for them to have a change of mind over this kind of business they are into as the watchful eyes of the able-bodied patrol team of the Western Command are alert.
On his own, the Area Commander National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Apapa Area Office, Mr. Samuel Gadzama on his own acknowledged that the Inter-Agency synergy, cooperation and collaboration are really working and that the evediences are part of this feat achieved by Western Marine Command of the NCS.
The anti-smuggling war of Comptroller Ochiba since his assumption of office on the 5 July 2021 as the Ag. Customs Area Controller is evident and his determination to suppress smuggling activities within the Western Command of the NCS is not in doubt.
To show this, upon his assumption of office, he re-organized the Command’s anti-smuggling squad of the command just to achieve result. He did that with the mind to consolidate on the successes of his 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.
Today, impact of his strategic planning is manifesting as the Officers and men of the Command have from July 2021 to date made several seizures ranging from Used foreign shoes, Second hand clothing, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Foreign Rice, Hard Drugs among others.
Giving more details about the seizures, the CAC said thaton Friday, 13 August 2021, the Officers and 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 Command said, 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.
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,
Similarly, the Western Marine patrol team on Thursday 9, 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.
One (1) suspect in connection with the seizure was arrested. 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.
According to the CAC, “Also, on Wednesday 15 September 2021 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 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: 29042021 and expiring Date of 28042024″
“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 Jabels with a new labels carrying new manufecturing 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.
“Gentlemen of press, on Monday 20 September 2021 et about 1200hrs, our operativea 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)
Other seizures made within this period according to the command include: Eight Hundred and Eighty Three (883) Bags of 50Kg Foreign Parboiled Rice; Forty Nine (49) Sacks of Used Shoes; Forty Four (44) Sacks of New Shoes; 245 Kegs x 25lus of PMS; One 40Hp Yamaha outboard engine; Six (6) Bales and Three (3) Sacks of Second hand clothing and bags.
The Ag.Controller said that in related development,on Friday 9 July,2021, the Nigerian Navyship Beecroft handed over 162x50Kg Bags of 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 snd Eighty Four Thousand Naira (5,184,000.00) only.
He commended the Nigerian Navy for their support towards the anti smuggling drive of the Command. This seizures ure 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 responsibilities.
While handing over the seized drugs to the officials of NDLEA, the Controller said: “It is in the spirit of inter-agency collaboration that I am handing over the Cannatns Sativa, Heroin and the arrested suspect to the Area Commander NDLEA, Apapa Special Area Command”.