Western Marine Customs averts national disaster : Intercepts N1.1billion dangerous drugs on high sea

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  • Seizes N62.2million pharmaceutical products expired since 2017
  • Intercepts heroine concealed in cartons of Indomie noodles
  • Arrests suspect

The Customs Area Controller (CAC), of Western Marine Command (WMC), DC Enonche Ochiba, and his enforcement officers have averted what would have been a national disasters to the entire nation, through swift interception of dangerous drugs on high sea, worth over N1.1billion.

With the timely interception of those large quantities of hard drugs, the Command had saved Nigeria from social hazards, criminalities and havoc associated with hard drugs, if Cannabis Sativa of such magnitude had entered the economic environment and circulated to various markets across the country unchecked.

Also, through timely intelligence, the Command under the leadership of DC Ochiba, uncovered pharmaceutical products that had expired since April 27, 2017, worth N62,252,794.00 (approximately N62.3million).

The products include
817 Bottles of B-Vital;
1,158 Bottles of Kordy-capsule;
3,110 Bottles of Double Ginseng; 619 Bottles of Detoxin; 607 Bottles of B-care ; 198 Sachets of Ninhuang Jeedu pian;
1,200 Sachets of St- Formula; 475 Bottles of Apetamin Syrup;
seven Bottles of Spinsure Table; 17 Bottles of Danshen Plus;
seven Bottles of Arthro capsule; 13 Bottles of Spinsore Pill and 123 Bottles of Chitomeal”.

Others were; bundles of printed labels of Double Ginseng with Batch no. DG 04021, MFG Date: 29042021 and expiring Date of 28042024.
The issue of concern on this particular seizure of expired drugs is that these killer drugs would have entered into the Nigerian markets, if not the swift intervention by operatives of Western Marine Command, who impounded the items.

Addressing Journalists during press conference in Lagos yesterday, the CAC, informed :
“The smugglers intended to replace the expired labels with new ones, carrying new manufacturing and expiry dates, as it can be seen on the bundles of printed labels of Double Ginseng accompanying the seized consignment. The new printed labels carried 29042021 and 28042024, as manufacturing and expiry dates, respectively, meanwhile the drugs expired since 2017”.

Speaking further on how the Cannabis Sativa was seized, the CAC revealed;
“On Friday, August 13 2021, the Officers/Men of Coastal and Harbour Patrol, together with the Comptroller Surveillance/Monitoring team while on patrol along Kuramo Beach on high sea intercepted Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana). No arrest was made as the smugglers dived into the sea on sighting the patrol team.

“The items were brought to WMC; upon physical examination, it was found to be 232 sacks of Marijuana with an average of 46Kg per sack, giving an estimated total of 10,672Kg with street value of N1.1billion”.

He went on; “Similarly, on Thursday September 9, 2021, officers of the Command while on Stop and Search operations along the waterways at Pashi of Yekeme axis discovered heroin concealed in a carton of Indomie noodles. One suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure. The powder was later sent for laboratory analysis and it was certified to be heroin weighing a total of 1.52Kg, valued N40, 860,841.02 (approximately N40.9million)”.

The CAC continued :
“On Monday September 20, 2021, our operatives while on official patrol intercepted Packs of drugs at Yekeme axis. Upon examination, it was found to contain 45 packs of 225mg Tramadol Hydrochloride Tablets with total value of N954,934.02.
Other seizures made within this period were
883 bags of Rice;
49 Sacks of Used Shoes;
44 Sacks of New Shoes
245 Kegs of smuggled petrol; one 40Hp Yamaha outboard engine;
six bales and three Sacks of Second hand clothings/ bags.

“In a related development, on Friday July 9, 2021; the Nigerian Navyship Beecroft handed over 162 bags of smuggled Rice intercepted at Lagos offshore, worth 5,184,000.00 (approximately N5.2million).

“The Total DPV of Seizures made under review from July 2021 till date is N1. 265,830,809.04 (approximately N1.3billion)”.

The CAC enthused :
‘Let me use this medium
to commend the Nigerian Navy for their support towards anti-smuggling drive of our Command. This seizure is a symbol of cordial working relationship with Sister Agencies and also depicts that the Security Agencies have no overlapping functions in the discharge of their statutory responsibilities.
It is in the spirit of inter-agency collaboration that I am handing over the seized Cannabis Sativa, Heroin and suspect to the Area Commander NDLEA, Apapa Special Area Command”.

His words :
These unprecedented seizures were made at various outstations within Ere & Akere of Idiroko, Badagry, Yekeme and Sea, as a result of coordinated intelligence and our determination in enforcing the Federal Government Fiscal Policies.

“I assumed duty on July 5, 2021, as the Ag. CAC. Upon my assumption of office, I re-jigged the anti-smuggling activities of the Officers/Men of the Command, thereby consolidating on the successes of my predecessor in line with the policy thrust of the Comptroller-General of Customs. A new team code named ‘Comptroller surveillance/Monitoring Patrol Team’ was created to complement the efforts of our existing patrol teams across South Western waterways.
We are here today, September 24, 2021 showcasing our anti-smuggling feat of the Command.”

On the whole, DC Ochiba, thanked CGC Hameed Ali on logistics support for the Command, even as he commended NDLEA for its cordial working synergy.

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