…Arrests 2 suspects, as 211 cartons valued over N59m discovered already pilfered!***
An alleged attempt by yet to be identified numbers of people to pilfer and smuggle cartons of imported tramadol sheltered in a container within the port, via ambulance, has been scuttled by eagle eye Customs Service operatives, resulting in the arrest of two suspects.
The Apapa Port Customs Command Controller, Muhammed Abba Kura who disclosed this today told newsmen that on the night of Friday 12th July 2019, at about 11.00 pm, his officers on routine surveillance actually intercepted an ambulance (Hyundai) with Lagos registration number LND 605 XW suspected to be laden with the offending contraband articles of trade, and upon examination, discovered the ambulance was carrying 10 cartons of 225mg tramadol tablets valued at N2,814,139.
Subsequently, two male suspects named Micheal Ajibade who was the driver and, Olatunde Emmanuel who was an Escort were promptly arrested, along with the ambulance.
“You would recall that the Federal Government, through the NAFDAC, had banned the importation of tramadol in excess of 100mg.
“Furthermore, an investigation into the source of the stolen tramadol revealed that the drugs were pilfered from an undeclared container at the AP Moller Teminal. Physical examination further revealed that 211 Cartons of drugs were missing from the container”, Comptroller Kura revealed, putting the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the stolen drugs at N59, 378,332.09.
The Area controller said it was regrettable that while the Nigeria Customs Service was working round the clock to free the country of illicit goods, some recalcitrant and unpatriotic citizens were not relenting in their desperate urge to sabotage our efforts.
“Ordinarily, nobody would suspect that such an act can be committed by supposed stakeholders that ought to be collaborating with the service to rid the nation of these harmful drugs. However, the command’s strategy of 24 hours surveillance in and around the port has continued to yield positively”, he said further, noting that the preliminary investigation had commenced, and his officers were currently working hard, to ascertain the level of involvement of other members of staff of the AP Moller Terminal with a view to getting to the root of this unfortunate incident and they will be charged to court of competent jurisdiction.
“I cannot conclude this briefing without stating that the Apapa Area Command has collected a sum of N20, 027, 638,924 in the last 12 working days July 1st to 15th 2019.
“You would recall in the last media briefing that the Command collected over N203 billion as revenue from January 1st to June 30th 2019; and the seizure of 29 containers of various items including Tramadol Drugs”, he indicated further.
It would be recalled that Comptroller Muhammad Abba-Kura in his last news briefing highlighted how his Command recorded about $46.6 million as a Free On Board (FOB) value for exported goods and generated N203.2 billion revenue within the first 6months of 2019, representing 54.5 per cent of the Command’s annual revenue target.
The comptroller noted that most of the exported products were agricultural products; and that the N203.2 billion generated was N26.5 billion higher than the N176. 7billion generated in the corresponding period of 2018, adding that the items seized included tomato paste, vegetable oil, ladies wears, Tramadol, and other drugs, armoured glasses without end-user certificate and drilling pipes labelled in foreign language.