The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Tin Can Island Command, on Friday announced that it had intercepted 11 40-foot containers and two 20-foot containers of Tramadol.
While announcing the seizure to journalists in Lagos, the Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of Enforcement, Austin Chidi, who represented the Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), listed other pharmaceutical products, including Ciprofloxacin capsules, Diclofenac sodium tablets, Soffeathe I.V cannula, Sildenfil citrate tablets among the drugs seized.
He put the value of the total items, including bleaching soaps and used clothing at N3.13bn.
This is the third consecutive seizure of Tramadol recorded within one week between Wednesday, November 21 and Friday, November 23.
On Wednesday, the Customs Command, Seme border, announced that it seized some containers of Tramadol about to be smuggled into Nigeria through the land border.
This was closely followed by the announcement by Ali that 40 containers of the drug, worth N7.3bn, were seized at the Apapa Port.
The Director-General, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, had earlier announced that 23 containers of Tramadol worth N193bn were discovered during an examination carried out on 80 containers of seized items on Wednesday, November 14 and Thursday, November 15.
The drugs, according to her, were imported in 2017.
Ali said that the Tramadol had been handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
He said, “The Service wishes to reiterate its concern for the health and security of Nigerians. One could better imagine the devastating effect on the lives of our youths if these unwholesome drugs had found their way into the market.”
In another development, the NDLEA said on Friday that the NCS had yet to position 39 containers suspected to contain illicit drugs for inspection.
NDLEA’s Head of Public Affairs, Jonah Achema, reportedly stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja.
The agency had recently inspected 23 containers out of 62 at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, and in them; 581 million Tramadol tablets were discovered.
It had said that all the containers had been on its watch list since November 2017.
The containers were searched at the port based on NDLEA’s “reasonable suspicion” that they contained the illicit drug.
He said, “It is the responsibility of the NCS to position the containers for search.”
However, Public Relations Officer of the NSC, Joseph Attah, when contacted, said that there was no issue between both agencies.
According to him, the two organisations had been working together to ensure that illicit drugs’ smuggling was curbed to the barest minimum.