Customs seizes Tramadol worth N7.3bn

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The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) said Thursday that it had intercepted 40 by 40 feet containers laden with Tramadol and other dangerous pharmaceutical products worth over N7.3billion.

A large number of the dangerous drugs, NCS said, were imported into the country by some scrupulous importers from India to endanger the health of the nation.

Attempt by the importers to bribe Customs officers with over $400,000 (about N150 million), to effect the release of just one container out of the 40 seized, it was gathered, was rebuffed by the officers.

Addressing reporters at the Apapa command of the Service while displaying the dollars, its Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), said NCS has also impounded two helicopters that can be used for nefarious activities.

One of the helicopters with registration number SN-BLI, the Customs helmsman said, was intended for export, and was concealed in container number PONU7789246, while the second helicopter, a Cessna 182A, was imported into the country from the United States of America for unknown assignment.

Ali said the first helicopter was falsely declared as 388 bags of cashew nuts, while the second was concealed in container number MRKU 4457663 before they were intercepted by some vigilant and patriotic officers of the command.

Its importation, Ali said, violates Section 36 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45, LFN 2004 over failure to provide End-User-Certificate from the offices of the National Security Adviser and approval from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.

Investigation, the CGC said, was ongoing to fish out the owners of the two helicopters.

He said three suspects with some Customs officers that were involved in the clearance of some of the containers laden with Tramadol drugs from the port have been arrested for further investigation and possible prosecution.

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