By Innocent Orok
The Nigeria Customs Service, Area ll Command, Onne Port in Rivers State has uncovered 1387 cartons of prohibited Tramadol tablets with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3,719,983,463 concealed with 1000 cartons of ceramic tiles. The Command also seized the tiles with DPV of N10,743,325 used in concealing the illicit drug .
In a statement issued by the Command’s Public Relations Officer ( PRO) Ifeoma Onuigbo Ojekwu said the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Auwal Mohammed who showed the seizure to newsmen in Onne said it was found in 1x40ft container MRKU0764717 that was picked as a result of intelligence gathering from international security network; and transferred to the Government Warehouse for 100% physical examination.
“We are always ready to conduct 100 percent examination. We will not be pushed to do anything in a hurry as the clearance procedure is well explained.
Hundred percent examination is one of the key aspects of the clearance procedure in Nigeria. Therefore, all importers should know that making unclear or false electronic declaration does not mean they will have an easy way out with their consignments.
“Every container that arrive Onne Port must be subjected to 100 percent examination after relevant duties and charges have been paid and necessary procedures followed. But no compromise to examination and all cargoes must be examined. And this is one of the results you are seeing here.
“Ordinarily, you can see that the same carton used to package the ceramic tiles is what was used to package the tramadol 120mg capsules. So if you are just doing ordinary surface examination, you will assume that the whole container is laden with ceramic tiles.
“But because of the meticulous way we conduct our examination, we are able to separate between the items used for concealment; which is the ceramic tiles and the actual intent, cargo or consignment being imported” Mohammed said
The drugs were packed in 120mg capsule, 20 satchet per pack, 18 packs per carton Comptroller Mohammed said the drugs were picked through an intelligence following a tip off from international security network.
The CAC reiterated that no consignment will be released from Onne Port without the due diligence of hundred percent physical examination. While investigations are on, the Controller assured that the importer, agent and their collaborators will be prosecuted in a competent court of law.
He also assured that Customs officers under his watch will continue to abide by the law and shun any form of compromise.