How logistics firm is frustrating destruction of seized tramadol

Customs, NAFDAC destroy 58 containers of tramadol, other drugs worth N14.7bn
Cartons of tramadol destroyed by the Nigeria Customs Service in collaboration with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control at the Sagamu dump site in Ogun State on Wednesday.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it has so far destroyed 24 containers of banned tramadol and other illicit drugs out of a total of 58 containers seized by its operatives at the various Customs formation and earmarked for destruction.

NCS, in collaboration with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other sister agencies had flagged off the destruction of the 58 containers of seized drugs at the Sagamu dump site in Ogun State last month.

Speaking in an exclusive chat with SHIPS & PORTS, Chairman of the Joint Committee, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs (ACG), Aminu Dahiru, said the committee encountered “little challenge”, which delayed the destruction of the banned drugs but assured that he would see to the end of the exercise.

He said, “So far, we have been able to destroy 24 containers all from the South West axis out of the 58 containers. We encountered little problem but I can assure you that we are going to execute that assignment to the last. The company that was brought in to convey the containers is not having adequate transportation system because we find out that we can destroy up to 10 containers in a day if there is adequate provision for the containers to be moved to the dump site. The more we have, the more easily it will be to destroy because we can set fire on them at once and wait there until we are satisfied.

“I was also invited to the headquarters for another assignment and after the meeting we realize we have to suspend the destruction exercise because we are task again to carry out another assignment. Once the exercise is over, we will resume. If you see the exercise is not completed, maybe I am dead or removed from being Chairman. We will use everything humanly possible to see to the end of the destruction,”

Meanwhile, the Customs Strike Force team says it has uncovered 21 trailer loads of codeine and tramadol stored in a warehouse along Oshodi-Apapa express road in Lagos.

Addressing journalists in Lagos on Friday, Customs spokesman, Joseph Attah, said the drugs worth N5 billion were being evacuated on Sunday during the just concluded Eld-el Kabir celebration with the intent to move them out of Lagos.

The drugs, which he said have no NAFDAC registration number are currently been moved to the Federal Operations Unit warehouse while the Comptroller General of Customs has directed a thorough investigation with a view to bringing all those connected to the smuggling of the drugs to justice.

He said, Operating on the erroneous belief that festive period is a time of merriment and less vigilance, smugglers of illicit drugs during the just concluded Eld-el Kabir celebration, attempted to move trailer loads of codeine, tramadol and other deadly drugs from Lagos to other part of the country. Meanwhile evacuation of the drugs to the Federal Operations Unit has commenced.

On Sunday, August 13, 2019 at about 2:00am, the operatives of the headquarters Strike Force, Zone ‘A’ intercepted one truck lden with dreaded codeine, tramadol and other controller pain killers along Mary land, Ikeja. This was immediately brought to the attention of the team leader, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Usman Yahaya who deepened preliminary investigation that led to the discovery of a warehouse along Apapa-Oshodi express road stocked to the brim with dreaded tramadol, codeine and other unregistered pharmaceutical products without NAFDAC number.”

Officer in charge of the team, Usman Yahaya, said while a suspect has been arrested, efforts are on to arrest all those involved with the smuggling of the drugs.

“We are investigating and we will get to the root of the matter. We will leave no stone unturned to the perpetrators. Aside these trucks we have here, there are many other drugs in the warehouse which our men have sealed awaiting full evacuation of all the drugs and subsequent judicial process/destruction,” he said.