The CAC, WMC of the NCS Compt. Olugboyega Peters handing over the seized drugs to the head of Apapa Command of the NDLEA, Samuel Gazama.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Western Marine Command of the Nigerian Customs Service, Ibafon Apapa has made another huge seizure of Cannabis Sativa also known as Indian Hemp or Igbo in the local parlance.
The Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters stated this in a press briefing.
Comptroller Olugboyega Peters started by recalling that in the Year 2020; the operatives of the Command made a massive seizure of over 10 tonnes of Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana) valued at over a billion Naira. He noted by saying ” Here we are today showcasing another feat of arrest of Marijuana by Officers and Men of the Command”.
He continued “On Saturday 27 March 2021; our operatives of Coastal and Harbour Patrol (Bar-Beach) on credible intelligence along Ibeche Beach on the high sea accosted, intercepted and arrested Two (2) wooden boats ladened with sacks suspected to contain Marijuana HS Code 0602.90 of Common External Tariff (CET) together with Six (6) suspects as empowered by Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap. C45 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended which states as follows:
Section 149 – Powers to search vehicles/ships
Section 150 – Powers to search persons
Section 158 – Powers to patrol freely
Section 167 – Powers to detain/seize
Section 169 – Powers of forfeiture in accordance with all relevant laws”.
The six suspects apprehended with the seized drugs.
“The goods together with the suspect were brought to WMC; upon physical counting it was found to be 147 sacks of Marijuana with an average of 45Kg per sack, giving an estimated total of 6,615Kg”.
The total value of the Marijuana is Six Hundred and Ninety Four Million, Five Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira (₦694,575,000.00) only. The Western Marine Command has had several collaborations with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Director Seaport Operations and it is in view of this continuous synergy and its statutory responsibility that we are handing over the marijuana together with the Six (6) suspects to the representative of NDLEA in the interest of National Security.
The seized drugs.
Similarly, the Command has in the 1st quarter of 2021 made a total of 12 Seizures ranging from Rice, Marijuana, Second hand clothing and PMS with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Seven Hundred and Twenty Million, Five Hundred and Forty One Thousand Naira (₦720,541,000.00) only.
In a bid for United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to fulfill its promise based on the outstanding anti smuggling performance of WMC of installing Video Teleconferencing CISCO WEBEX equipment, the delegate of the UNODC headed by Miss Siji Song had on the 16 March 2021 visited the Command and handed over the VTC equipment which will aid the operational activities of the Command and will also assist the security agencies in response to the fight against Piracy in the maritime industry. The equipment will be fully installed when all the enabling tools are put in place by the Service.
Testing the substance to confirm whether it is Cannabis Sativa.
It is pertinent to know that the task of making our society free from drugs abuse and drugs related substances is a collective one, all hands must be on deck to make our society free from such menace. You can imagine the havoc like terrorism, banditry, rape and other crimes, the marijuana of this magnitude may cause in our society if this seizure has not been made by our operatives.
The CAC in an exclusive interview with our correspondent noted that despite the occurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic, smuggling activities seemed not to have abated, but rather that smugglers are becoming more desperate and more sophisticated. He blames this on moral decadence and lack of defined societal values as he calls on all members of the society to live by example.
The CAC with the seized bags of rice.
On his part, Mr. Samuel Gazama, the head of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Apapa command while receiving the seized Cannabis Sativa thanked the CAC of the Western Marine Command of the Nigerian Customs Service for his hard work, dedication to duty and the synergy that has been engendered between the Agencies. He pledged on behalf of the Chairman and Chief Executive of the NDLEA to continue with the inter-agency cooperation. He noted that the seizure has saved a lot of lives and also saved the image of the country.
The CAC on the last note said “let me warn the unscrupulous elements to desist from smuggling and look for a legitimate means of livelihood. The operatives of WMC are always combat-ready to bring smuggling to its barest minimum. No amount of distraction will deter us from enforcing the Federal Government Fiscal Policies; we will remain resolute and undaunted no matter whose ox is gored.
On a final note, I urge the NDLEA to invite us during the destruction of this marijuana and a copy of certificate of destruction issued to the NCS for statistical and record keeping reasons”.