Maritime Politics

NDLEA uncovers 340 million Tramadol tablets, in 12 containers

Written by Maritime First

…As BMO tells senate to face its core duties, not dabble into $8bn MTN Fine

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it has uncovered 340 million Tramadol tablets in 12 containers at the Apapa port in Lagos.

NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Mr Jonah Achema indicated this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, noting that the tablets which were in various dosages, ranging from 120 milligrams to 250 milligrams were recovered from 12 containers in the ongoing search in Apapa port.

He said the containers were on the watch-list of NDLEA since November, 2017 and were brought to Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for search based on the agency’s reasonable suspicion of the containers containing tramadol.

He stated that the NCS on Wednesday dropped 28 of 62 containers slated for search, among which 12 of them were found to contain tramadol.

“The search is still ongoing.

“Tramadol is a pharmaceutical drug which has been subject of abuse by the populace.

“In one single operation in November last year, the agency intercepted 160 million tablets of tramadol at the Apapa port which ranged from 220 to 250 milligrams.

“They were imported from India using false documents in the name of an unregistered company,” Achema said.

According to Col. Muhammad Abdallah (retd), Chairman, NDLEA, it is doubtful that this influx of Tramadol is for legitimate use.

“Tramadol, which is a derivative of Opiate is for post-surgery application but even if everybody in Nigeria undergoes surgery every year, we do not need the quantity that enters our country.

“It only suggests their diversion for illicit use,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has strongly advised the Senate to desist from distracting the executive, in the running of state affairs, but to concentrate more on its duties of providing adequate legislation for the growth of the nation.

The group gave the advice in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke on Thursday in Abuja, in a swift reaction to Senate’s resolution on the fine imposed on communication company, MTN.

The group therefore cautioned Nigerian Senate to pay more attention to its legislative duties and ensure that it always formed a quorum, rather than dabble into issues that were strictly within the purview of the executive arm of government.

It noted that any company which was found to have violated extant laws must abide by the consequence of its actions, as “MTN violated currency regulations by sending $8.1 billion abroad illegally”.

The CBN had imposed heavy fines totalling N5.87bn on four banks under its regulatory purview for alleged illegal funds repatriation.

It also directed both the banks and MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to immediately refund to the apex bank $8,134,312,397.63, which was said to have been illegally repatriated by the company.

A statement from the CBN has said it asked the banks and MTN to refund money for what it described as ‘flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006’.

The four banks that came under the sledge hammer of the CBN for the violations were Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank.

BMO, therefore cautioned the Senate to refrain from assuming executive powers in the management of state affairs.

It also advised the senate to focus on forming more quorum so that members could attend to key national issues and give value for money being spent on them.

“The Senate is reminded that, not only will MTN pay its fine as ascribed by the CBN, banks involved in this illegal repatriation have been fined and sums debited at source.”

BMO noted that “the issue in contention is not a fine but repatriation of foreign exchange initially thought to have been fraudulently secured through local banks

“The derivation arising from that is that MTN would have been made to pay back the $8.1 billion while the local equivalent value would have been refunded to MTN.

“Now it would seem that the matter of repatriation had been resolved by the CBN so the suggestion of the $800 million is a surcharge on the transaction rather than a repatriation,” it said.


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Maritime First