Quick action must be taken before the importation of these drugs escalates. The government need to make necessary arrangements with the government of India on how to place a complete ban on the importation of the drug. If possible all products leaving India should be checked before coming to Nigeria. I am sure by doing this, a lot of substandard goods will not be found in our country. These can be done if there is an agreement by the two countries.
This is the time our security agencies need to be at alert especially Customs, NAFDAC and SON. The truth is no matter how these officers guard our borders; all these substandard products still find their way into our country. Stringent measures and punishment should be given to any culprit found which may be the importer, truck driver and the motor boys. I will also advise that any container found with tramadol, be burnt because in the process of investigation, some of these drugs are taken from the officers through bribes. These are things the senior officers may not know about. Any officer caught in the act should be punished and sacked.
I believe our government has the authority to make a policy that would end the importation of this particular drug but they seem to be doing nothing. Within just a month, so many containers of this drug worth N7.7 billion, have been impounded. May be the government is generating somuch money from the importation because if not, measures would have been put in place to reduce this act.The government should have an agreement with the source, which is India, and come to anunderstanding that exporting drugs, dangerous to the health to our country, should be banned. It might threaten our business relationship but it is for the good of our country. Nigeria is not a dumping ground for all sorts especially when it comes to human health; it is high time the government takes a stand on problems causing difficulties in our nation.
The issue of tramadol has become a scourge. The government needs to take a decisive stand on it; why is it that the drug is coming from a particular source which is India? If this is part of the agreement President Buhari signed with them, it has to be stopped completely because it is causing more harm than good. I will urge the government to make sure all the drugs that have been intercepted, be destroyed and if possible, CCTV surveillance should be placed on the security agents, to ensure the destruction takes place If not, I am sure some officers will use that as a business to start making money, by selling out some of these drugs to citizens. Also, the president has to discuss with the president of India to put an end to the importation of this deadly drug.
I know that the importation of these drugs are done by influential people in the country and that is why it has become rampant. It is time the government does all it can, to secure our borders and any other routes through which thee containers come in. The government has to make a law to ensure that no matter who the owner of the drugs is, he/she would be dealt with. The penalty should be placed on the owner of the container, not the container or the driver. There should be no bail for the culprit because the earlier we start getting it right in this country, the better for us all.
The Customs and NAFDAC officers have to be more proactive because some of these officers actually collect bribe from the owners of these containers bringing the drugs and other products. I believe the seizures that we see and know about, attention was called to them.Our officers need to be enlightened more on the issue of the products they seize and the havoc it has on the health of the citizens. The president should send delegates to India and other countries which send these products here, and put a total stop to it. He should also make sure that goods that leave their countries should be placed on close watch before sending it out to other countries and not only Nigeria.
The recent upsurge in the seizure of tramadol at Nigeria’s ports by operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), clearly reflects the seriousness the agency now attaches to the need to check the influx of a drug whose abuse is increasingly turning many Nigerian youths into agents of violence and social vices. I give kudos to them because they are working together with other agencies to make sure that the illegal importation of tramadol, if not completely eliminated, should be controlled to the barest minimum while giving the smugglers and their foreign collaborators a run for their money. But I think they need to put in extra efforts. The government needs to pay more attention to this area and see how the officers can be supported to completely eradicate the importation of the drug and other products which are harmful to our health.
It is very simple; if the customs can carry out their duties efficiently, there is no way the importation of this drug cannot be curbed. The government has to come to terms of agreement with India, the source country for the drug. And if possible sign, a memorandum of understanding on the products leaving their country to Nigeria. A delegation should be sent to India; the president can go with this delegation. I know this might threaten the agreement between India and Nigeria but it must be done to stem the problems the drug is costing our nation.
Copyright 2018 Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.