Less than two months af­ter it seized 661 con­tainers of pump action rifles, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Ni­geria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 5,056 cartons of the prohibited drug, Tram­adol Hydrochloride.
On the packs of the drugs, which came in trucks, were clearly written “for export only.” Displaying them at the FOU, Ikeja, on Monday, the NCS Comptroller-Gen­eral, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), said that the smuggled prod­ucts, with a duty paid value of N242.6 million, have been on the prohibited list of drugs, and have no National Agency for Food and Drug Admin­istration and Control (NAF­DAC) registration number.
Ali stated that the drugs, imported from India, China and other Asian countries in its variants, are dangerous to health, but that Nigerian wom­en have been using them for stress control, unaware of the health risks.
He disclosed that the drugs were smuggled into Nigeria from Idiroko border but in­tercepted at different points in the South West zone, adding that arrests had been made, adding that the suspects were still being profiled.
According to Ali, “these drugs fall under absolute pro­hibition list. People complain of Customs harassing them on the highways; how would this have been intercepted if the trucks conveying them were not stopped on the roads?
“We are not deliberately stopping vehicles on the roads. These drugs were seized at are­as on Apapa Road, Sango-Ota and along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. If we closed our eyes and allowed these pro­hibited drugs to come in, the damage it will cause to our children can never be quan­tified.
“We have two layers of de­fence to stop illicit and prohib­ited drugs like this. If it leaves the ports and borders, our of­ficers will stop it on the high­way. It is part of our mandate to prevent the illegal entry of this kind of products.
“Anybody who keeps tak­ing these drugs will not be use­ful to himself or the nation. Therefore, we need the support of Nigerians to fight this men­ace. These are the ones we have nipped in the bud, only God knows the number of those that have escaped arrest.
“I also admit my offic­ers are compromising, oth­erwise these drugs would not find their way into the country. We are currently doing profil­ing of everybody involved in this drugs clearance. Immedi­ately we are done with that, we will make our arrest.
“It is in realisation of this compromise by some of my of­ficers that we have set up this second layer of defence so that when these drugs beat the sys­tem at the ports or border sta­tions, our men will stop them on the roads,” he said.