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Apapa Customs Command intercepts N6bn worth of tramadol concealed with towels

The Nigeria Customs Service, Apapa Area Command, on Friday disclosed the seizure of  N6 billion worth of tramadol concealed with towels in a 20-ft container.

Briefing newsmen on the development, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf, Controller in charge of the Command, said that the drugs were in 150 cartons in a container imported from Pakistan. 

He credited the success of the operation to eagle-eyed operatives of the command working with the “Forensic Manifest Management System” for them to detect the concealed drugs.

Handing over the seized illicit consignment to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Comptroller Yusuf said:  “On the authority of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.), I, Comptroller MI Yusuf, Customs Area Controller, Apapa Command do hereby handover 1x20ft container No. PCIU 0183241 laden with eighty-one (81) cartons of 250mg and sixty-nine (69) cartons of 225mg of tramadol tablets (Each carton contains 72 rolls, each roll contains 10 packs, each pack contains 10 sachets, and each sachet contains 10 tablets) totaling 150 cartons of tramadol tablets to the Commander of Narcotics, Commander Ameh Inalegwu, Apapa Special Area Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further agency action.”

Yusuf disclosed the arrest of a suspect in connection with the seizure and has also been handed over to the NDLEA for further interrogation and investigation.

The Controller said the seizure would further strengthen the existing relationship between the Nigeria Customs Service, the NDLEA and other relevant government agencies operating in the port.

His words: “The fight against illicit drug abuse and trafficking is everyone’s business and the Nigeria Customs Service is all out to support the NDLEA in combating this ugly menace decisively.

“We have just started; we would make sure that all these illicit drugs have no place in Apapa command.”

He attributed the seizure to being consistent and focused, saying that organisational interest should supersede personal interests.

He said: “The drugs were concealed with towels, and the true content of the container was not declared. However, the customs deployed what he called “Forensic Manifest Management System” to bring out the contents of the container.”

Receiving the container, Mr. Ameh Inalegwu, Apapa Commander of the NDLEA, said that Chairman of the NDLEA, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (Rtd.) had commended the remarkable work of Compt. Yusuf.

He said: “I want to appreciate the synergy between the Apapa Customs Command and the NDLEA. Just about a month ago, we had this kind of handing over whereby two containers were handed over to us; this is the Apapa spirit. My Chairman is very appreciative and he is ready to project and commend any officer of the security agencies that would partner with the NDLEA.

“I want to commend the Area Controller and say that my Chairman is very proud of you. When I heard the opportunity to put the records before him, he assured me of the length he would go to recommend you and I am sure it is on the way, if it has not come.”

He continued that: “The legally accepted milligram for tramadol is 50mg, but here we have five of that in one, under the influence of this drug, everybody is vulnerable.

“A carton of the tramadol is not less than N20million, while the entire drug is worth more than N6billion.

“The agency is going to the court to get permit in order to destroy the drugs, in the next one month, my Chairman would be in Lagos to destroy exhibits.”

The NDLEA counterparts from American DEA, Canada and the United Kingdom were also on ground to witness the handing over of the drug seizure.

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