The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has destroyed 58 containers of banned tramadol and other illicit drugs worth N14.7 billion intercepted by its operatives at various Customs formation in Lagos and other parts of the country.
The destruction exercise was jointly carried out by the NCS, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other sister agencies.
Speaking at the flag- off of the destruction exercise at the Sagamu dump site, Ogun State on Wednesday, Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, condemned the activities of deviant who smuggled banned drugs and other harmful substances into the country.
Ali, who was represented by the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Zone ‘A’ Kaycee Ekekezie, lamented the harmful effect the seized drugs would have caused if it had gone into circulation, stating that the money that could have been channel for the welfare of the citizenry is rather been wasted.
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“I am standing here with mixed feelings because money that should have been used for better productive purposes will be destroyed. People should never see smuggling as a trade. It is a crime. The menace of such drugs in our society cannot be underestimated having caused huge negative impact both on our economy as a whole and the depreciation and danger to human life,” he said.
Ali, while appealing to Nigerians to join hands with the Service to fight the menace of drug abuse in the country, urged importers to take advantage of the Customs portal and be sure of the status of what they want to import to guide against importation of restricted items into the country.
“I call on all and sundry to assist officers of the Nigeria Customs Service and other relevant security and regulatory agencies by providing real time information at all times to help fish out the perpetrators of this negative act of smuggling dangerous drugs and bring them to justice,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, Chairman of the joint committee, Assistant Comptroller General (ACG), in charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Aminu Dahiru, said most of the violent crimes like robbery, kidnapping, banditry and other associated crimes are linked to consumption of illicit drugs.
He said similar destruction would be carried out in other Customs Zones in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Bauchi.
“Today’s event symbolizes yet another milestone in the history of NCS in its effort to deliver on its mandate of reducing smuggling to the bearest minimum as well as contribution to free the country from fake, substandard, unregistered and abuse of controlled drug.
“The seizures of these drugs have in no small way prevented the occasion of many kind of social vices such has kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry and other associated crimes we are facing today.
“These drugs to be destroyed here today constitute just a meagre number among the numerous seizures already handed over to NAFDAC and NDLEA for destruction in the past. These quantity of seizures recorded by officers have not been without some cost of series of threats, attacks, maiming and even killing of officers.
“Even as we are here, some of our anti smuggling officers have been receiving threats for their exploits. Smugglers of these drugs are unhappy because we stopped them from making money through destruction of lives,” he said.
Director, Registration & Regulatory Affairs of NAFDAC, Monica Eimunjeze commended Customs effort in preventing the smuggling of hard drugs into the country even as she advocated for collaboration between security agencies and the public to eradicate the society of hard drugs.
She explained that the approved milligram for tramadol is 50 and 100 while higher milligrams of above 100 are prohibited.
“We have something to do in controlling the use of this Tramadol in our society. See billions of Naira going down the drain, money that would been used to build our country. This event today speaks our minds that, we say no to bringing in of hard drugs, we say no to importation of substandard drugs and we say no to destroyed society,” she said.