December 02, (THEWILL) – The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has intercepted a 40-foot container loaded with twenty cartons of tapentadol drugs (a new variant of tramadol), worth N1, 560,000,000 from India.
In a press briefing by the Command, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta, said the cargo, which has been under surveillance, arrived at Apapa port on July 3rd, 2022.
He said the container was declared as Chocolates, but during the examination, officers discovered it was cartons of Ok POP sweets, while the drugs were carefully hidden at the back of the container.
“The importer cleverly concealed the drugs at the back of the container, just to undermine our officers.
“We found out that he had 20 cartons of the drugs. Each of the 225mg had 838,500 tablets. For the 120mg, there are 90,10,000 tablets.
“These drugs are deadlier than the normal tramadol, you can imagine the havoc it would cause if it had escaped into the market. You can agree with me that most of the criminal actions taking place today in our society are a result of the consumption of these types of drugs.
“Therefore, whoever is importing these kinds of drugs, we are telling him today that our collaboration efforts are fully informed and we cannot relent.
“The container has been in the port since July 3rd, 2022, moving from the mother port down here, the importer is trying to buy time maybe he can escape our watch, but behold, we are really on top of our game and we would continue to be on top of our game. If he is not tired of importing, we would not be tired of making him lose his investment, until he is brought to book.
“The joint corporation with the NDLEA and other agencies around here has yielded a fruitful result for the command.
“We would continue doing that to make sure that a serene environment is created for compliant traders and for goods that are in tandem with Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA)
“We thank God for giving us the wisdom to track and seize these kinds of drugs because it contravenes sections 64, 46, and 47 CEMA Act.
“I am advising the importer to please desist from these kinds of importation, it is harmful to humans.
“We would trail this importer, and with the help of our officers here, we would bring him to book and ensure he is treated accordingly.
“The CGC has initiated the e-Customs modernization, which is a complete automation of customs business processes.
“This begins from the port of loading to the destination where the manifest would show the content of the cargo.
“We believe that with the introduction of that system, every illicit cargo would be trapped, not only drugs”, he said.
Also speaking, the Commander of NDLEA in charge of Apapa Command, Ishiaku Yusuf Kwajaffa, said that the milligrams written on the drugs were just a cover-up, adding that the tapentadol is three times more potent than the normal tramadol.
“The 120mg written on the drugs is just a cover, the potency of the drugs is three times higher than the normal tramadol. This particular brand is new to us, this is the first time we are coming across the drugs
“The twenty billion cartons are worth N1.560 billion. Each carton of tramadol is worth N78 million, but we have made it so scarce for them”, he added.