The Tin Can Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has handed over the case file, suspect and vessel intercepted with cocaine at the port to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Controller of the Command, Musa Abdulahi at a media briefing in Lagos on Tuesday noted that the cocaine was shipped through a vessel MV SPAR SCORPIO.
Giving further details on the cocaine seizure, Abdulahi said the vessel with rotation No. 78/21 on January 18 was laden with 42,000 metric tonnes of raw sugar imported from Santos Brazil.
According to him, the Boarding Officer of the Enforcement Unit of the command on February 8, and at about 11.03 hours reported that at Josepdam Terminal, the vessel coming from Brazil to Tincan Island Port discharged two bags of forty packages earlier suspected to be hard drugs.
“The vessel came in with a crew list of 20, visited eleven ports of call including Brazil, USA, Panama, Korea and no issue of drugs were reported on arrival. This development prompted Josepdam officials to draw the attention of the Principal Staff Officer of the Nigerian Ports Authority who in turn notified the NDLEA who arrived and took over the substance from Josepdam officials.
“The substance was examined in the presence of regulatory agencies and the two bags of 40 packages of compressed cocaine declared weight was 100.0 pounds, 43.11kg as stated in the Josepdam incident report of February 9. ”Sequel to that, the command issued a Detention Notice on the vessel with reference No. NCS/TCIP/ENF/EC/VOL. XV/218 dated February 8 and consequently commenced investigation on the circumstances surrounding the import and eventual interception of the drugs,” he said.
Abdulahi said the suspect had been confined to the vessel and the vessel guarded by enforcement officers in line with a court order.
He said that the command had concluded it’s examination on the subject and handed over the case file to the legal adviser of the NCS for further investigating.
The NCS Legal Adviser, Smart Akande, noted that the handover of the case file and vessel to NDLEA was a demonstration of agency collaboration on the part of the NCS, adding that the Service always adhere to the rule of law and procedure.
“We are mindful of the fact that the mandate to prosecute and investigate for drugs is expressively preserved for NDLEA. When we discovered these drugs and investigation commenced, we did our part and now we are handing over to the NDLEA the suspect and the ship.
“From the sidelines, we will monitor the progress of the matter and we will assist them when need be so that they can do things well. We now hand over the case file that contains all documents, the statement and all documents that will assist you,” he said.
Director of Operations and General Investigating, NDLEA, Adeofe Adeyemi, assured that investigation was ongoing in the case and had even extended to the source of the vessel, which was Brazil. ”We appreciate the NCS for this handover, the synergy and all that they are doing for NDLEA, and we assure you that we are all working for the same course in the interest of national security. We believe in the shortest time, investigation will be concluded,” he said.