Ambulance van allegedly used to conceal 10 cartons of tramadol.

The Nigeria Customs Service, Apapa Port Command has intercepted 10 cartons of 250 mg of prohibited tramadol tablets valued at N2.8million which were concealed in a Hyundai ambulance with Lagos registration number LND 605 XW.

Recall that the Federal Government through the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC had banned the importation of tramadol in excess of 100mg.

Customs Area Controller in charge of Apapa, Comptroller Muhammed Abba-Kura, who briefed newsmen in Lagos, Wednesday, also disclosed that two male suspects identified as Michael Ajibade, who is believed to be the driver of the ambulance and one Olatunde Emmanuel, who was the escort of the van have been arrested in connection with the seizure.

According to him, officers and men of the command on a routine surveillance at about 11 pm on Friday July 12, 2019 intercepted the ambulance and upon examination, it was discovered to be laden with the prohibited item.

It was further gathered that the illicit drugs were pilfered from an undeclared container at the AP Moller Terminal in the port, which was further subjected to physical examination only to discover that a total of 211 cartons had been missing from the container with a Duty Paid Value DPV of N59.4million.

 The Comptroller alleged that some unpatriotic in house members of staff of AP Moller, which is the terminal operator in charge of the former Container Terminal may have been responsible for the act he described as ‘economic sabotage’.  

“It is regrettable to state here that while the Nigeria Customs Service is working round the clock to free this country of these illicit goods, some recalcitrant and unpatriotic citizens are not relenting in their desperate urge to sabotage these efforts.

“Ordinarily, no one would have suspected that such an act would be committed by supposed stakeholders that ought to be collaborating with the service to rid the country of these harmful drugs. However, the command’s 24-hour surveillance in and around the port would continue yield desired results”, the CAC also said.

It was also gathered that preliminary investigations have already commenced with a view to determining the level of involvement of other members of staff of AP Moller as part of efforts to to get to the route of the crime, which would be followed by the prosecution of the suspects in connection with the crime.

Recall that the command had collected a total of N203.3 billion revenue comprising import duty and other fees and levies between January and June, 2019, which represents 54.5 per cent of the total annual revenue target of N372.6billion for the 2019 fiscal year, which translates to a monthly revenue target of N31.046billion.

It had also recorded a total of 95, 229.15 metric tonnes of non-oil export products with the period under review, an indication that Federal Government’s economic diversification programme through non-oil export promotion is receiving a serious boost at the premier command.

The free on board FOB value of these exports, which are mainly agricultural and natural mineral products, have been put at N14.3billion ($46.61million).

Abba-Kura had attributed the feat to the decision of the command to put in place a high level of compliance on export declaration to complement government’s effort at boosting non-oil exports to check the current over dependent on crude export.