Unfolding indication may be to the effect that tramadol importers have diverted attention outside Lagos, as the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, an anti-smuggling arm of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Owerri, says it seized Tramadol and other related goods with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N379.29 million between March and June.
The Comptroller Ahmed Azarewa made this known on Thursday when he briefed newsmen on activities of the unit in the zone.
Azarewa said that the items seized included illicit drugs, bags of rice, used tyres, second hand clothing, and vehicles of different makes confiscated along the Benin- Owerri –Port Harcourt axis.
Giving further breakdown of the items, Azarewa said that the service confiscated a Mack Truck with 582 cartons of Tramadol, and 258 cartons of Tygracildenafil with a DPA of N21.462 million.
According to him, the Unit also confiscated a MAN Diesel Truck with 98 cartons of Ibamol drug (50 packs per carton), 22 cartons of 200mg Tramadol, 15 cartons of 225 mg Tramadol and 250 mg (50 packs) of Tramadol worth N11.862 million.
“The NCS also seized an unmarked Mercedes Benz truck with 327 bags of Cannabis Sativa valued at N11.445 million.’’
The tramadol and cannabis were handed over to NAFDAC and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) officials in Benin.
Other items confiscated by the service include a Lexus ES 350 car, 2007 model valued at N3.318 million, a Mercedes Benz G 500 Bullet Proof, 2001 model with DPV of N60.750 million, Toyota Hilux , 2016 model valued at N18.09 million and Toyota Prado 2015 model with DPV of N23.402 million.
Also confiscated are a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2014 Model worth N33.145 million, Mercedez Benz GLE 350 with DPV of N25.199 million, Brand new Toyota Land Cruiser 2018 with DPV of N37.999 million and Mercedez Benz C350 worth N4.955 million.
Other vehicles impounded include a Toyota Highlander 2013 model worth N13.388 million, Toyota Highlander 2009 Model with DPV of N4.957 million and a Mercedes Benz Truck with 230 cartons of 22kg imported rice.
The comptroller said that the unit’s patrol also seized six bales of used clothes worth N10.270 million and other items.
He said that the seized items were mostly concealed in between other items like electronics, gas cylinders, and door handles, while others were seized as a result of wrong declaration.
“If you refuse to pay what you are supposed to pay as duty to customs, you are a smuggler,” Azarewa said and enjoined the media to help the service disseminate information on the dangers of smuggling.
Azarewa said that handing over the drugs to NAFDAC and NDLEA was to rid the nation of illegal drugs to ensure the safety of Nigerians.
He urged Nigerians to ensure they engaged in legal business, pay correct duties on imported items and save the country from unnecessary capital flight.
According to him, some Nigerians are still desperate in importing rice and other contrabands and advised them to desist from the act.
Receiving the drugs, Mrs Esther Itua, the Edo State Coordinator of NAFDAC, commended Customs for the seizure, saying that the illegal use of tramadol was responsible for certain ailments and eventual death of the user.
She said that the use of tramadol had remained a cause of concern to the nation and NAFDAC, adding that the strength of the confiscated drugs was far above the maximum dose always recommended.
“This tramadol is an overdose and is also not registered with NAFDAC,” she said.
In his remarks, Mr Adewale Emayo, the Principal Staff Officer, Operations and Investigation of the NDLEA, thanked Customs for handing over the drugs; assuring that the drugs would be taken to their headquarters for destruction.