The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Tincan Island Port Area Command stated a suspect, Mr Boniface Ike, requested a N50 million payment for the release of his detained container.
Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede, the command’s Area Controller, said this at a news conference in Lagos on Monday, claiming that the recovered contraband was purportedly brought from India.
According to Oloyede, the suspect and one of his accomplices are being investigated at the command’s Enforcement Unit.
He stated that the suspect, who purportedly confessed to being the importer of the seized containers worth N550.3 million, sought to speak with one of the policemen alone.
“I told my officers to go along with it; the request was granted in the hope of receiving vital information from the suspect.” But, to their surprise, the suspect appealed for his release and the release of the containers.
“He offered gratification in the amount of N50 million, as shown, which is equivalent to $54,330 at the current exchange rate of N920.” “The money was collected and held in safe custody at the enforcement unit until it could be presented as an exhibit,” he explained.
According to Oloyede, who stated that the command got timely intelligence from its Customs Intelligence Unit, the products were hidden in two 40-foot containers with bill of lading numbers 227578945 and 227898171.
“Upon the vessel’s arrival at Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT), the containers (MRSU 592397/0 and MRKU 553432/1) were immediately transferred to the enforcement station for 100% physical examination and further investigation,” he stated.
Both containers were physically examined by enforcement officers, Customs Intelligence Operatives, Customs Police, and terminal examination officers on August 22 at around 2 p.m. and August 23 at about 1 p.m., respectively.
At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that the content violated the bill of lading for the container designated MRSU 592397/0.
According to the bill of shipping (No. 227578945), the goods are electrical, a ceiling fan, 36 Cooper diamonds, and chilly cutters (stainless steel plastic).
“Upon examination, it was discovered that the container contained five cartons of Timaking 120 tapentadol (Tramadol) hydrochloride carisoprodol capsules.” “Each carton has 50 rolls; each roll has five packets, and each packet has 200 tablets,” he explained.
The containers also contained 84 cartons of gastro-resistant omeprazole capsule BP 200mg, each carton containing 50 packets, each packet containing 10 capsules; 876 cartons of CSMIX cough syrup containing codeine (each bottle 100ml), each carton containing 200 bottles; 50 cartons of manual grater machines, each carton containing 70 pieces; and one carton of a ceiling fan.
The second container, MRKU 553432/1, contained 10 cartons of Super Royal 225mg (Tramadol).
“Each carton contains 50 rolls; each roll contains 10 packets; and each packet contains 10 tablets,” Oloyede explained. Other contents include 105 cartons of Omeprazole Capsule BP 200mg, each carton containing 50 packets, each packet containing 10 capsules; 754 cartons of Barcadin with Codeine 100ml, each carton containing 200 bottles; 50 cartons of manual grater machines, 70 pieces per carton, and one carton of compo ceiling fan.”
According to him, the unregistered pharmaceutical products collected were regulated by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
He further stated that the importer lacked the necessary permissions and certificates for importation, as well as paperwork to ensure the safety of the products for Nigerians.
Oloyede stated that the suspects, containers, and exhibit would be turned over to the agencies in charge of regulating and prosecuting criminals.
In a related event, he stated that on August 24, the command intercepted a shipment containing frozen poultry items.
According to him, the interception occurred as a result of an intense surveillance operation on a regular examination performed at TICT on a container designated TTNU 804678/9, which falsely reported its contents to be tangerines.
“The goods were falsely declared because they are prohibited from being imported (Trade).” “The container was seized for violating Section 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act (2023),” he said.
Oloyede pledged that Customs will use all available resources and tactics, in concert with other security and regulatory agencies, to combat the threat of unlawful importation of illicit and unregulated harmful drugs and chemicals.