The Nigeria Customs (NCS) Tin Can Island Port (TCIP) Command has arrested and detained a suspected importer, Mr. Boniface like, over the importation of two containers of illicit drugs.
Briefing journalists in his office earlier today, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Olakunle Oloyede said Mr. Ike who showed up as importer of the consignments attempted to bribe the command with the sum of #50 million but was rebuffed and taken into custody.
The Tin Can customs boss said dubious elements should not imagine that they can compromise the customs and engage in illicit trade, and said the suspect will be handed over to the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for interrogation and prosecution.
Oloyede put the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the unregistered pharmaceutical products concealed in two (2) by 40ft containers with Bill of Lading Nos 227578945 and 227898171, at #550million; even as he disclosed that the consignments were declared as ceiling fans and graters.
Speaking on the seizures, the CAC said: “Mr. Boniface Ike accepted that he is the owner (importer) of the two containers and sought to discuss privately with OC Enforcement, DC GI Aliyu and Team Manager CIU, AC H Abubakar.
“I instructed my officers to play along, the request was granted in expectation of receiving vital information from the suspect but to their bewilderment, the suspect pleaded for his freedom from detention and release of the containers while offering gratification to the tune of N50,000,000.00 equivalent to $54,330 at the current exchange rate N920.
“The money was collected and kept in safe custody at the Enforcement Unit to be tendered as exhibit.”
Giving account of how the offensive pharmaceuticals were apprehended, he said, “On arrival of the vessel in Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT), the containers MRSU 592397/0 and MRKU 553432/1 were transferred immediately to the Enforcement Station for 100% physical examination physical examination was conducted on both containers by Enforcement Officers, Customs Intelligence Operatives, Customs Police and Examination officers of the Terminal on Tuesday, 22 August 2023 at about 14:00hours and Wednesday, 23 August 2023 at about 13:00hours, respectively.
“After arresting one of the suspects, we did a sting on the address and found the importer who claimed to be the owner of both containers. You can see, all the contents of this container are in breach of our laws, here is tramadol, this one is cough syrup and codeine, but what they used in concealing wasn’t up to one-third of the container.
“So, it was a case of outright concealment trying to beat the law because they declared ceiling fan and graters. This is also a threat to the health and safety of the nation”, he said.
While the first container ‘MRSU 592397/0’ also has 5 cartons of Timaking 120 Tapentadol (Tramadol), you Hydrochloride Carisoprodol capsule (each carton contains 50 rolls, each rolls contains 5 packets, each packet 200 tablets); 84 cartons cartons of Gastro Resistant Omeprazole capsule BP 200mg (each carton contains 50 packets, each packet contains 10 capsules); 876 cartons of CSMIX cough syrup containing Codeine (each bottle 100ml), each carton contains 200 bottles.
To beat law enforcement agents the importers conceal thel items in the first container with 50 cartons of Manual Grater Machine with 70 pieces per carton to conceal the actual and 1 carton of ceiling fan.
The second container MRKU 553432/1 with Bill of Lading declared as 1,021 packages of Electrical Goods, Ceiling Fan 36 Jewel (Cooper) and Chilly Cutter (Stainless Steel Plastic) upon examination was found to contain10 cartons of Super Royal, 225 Tramadol (each carton contains 50 rolls, each roll contains 10 packets, each packet 10 tablets); and 105 cartons of Omeprazole Capsule BP 200mg and 754 cartons of Barcadin with Codeine (each bottle 100ml).
The Area Controller who said the clearing agent and importer will be prosecuted together, said that clearing agents have a duty to profile their clients against dubious declarations, noting clearing agents of bad jobs are usually treated as suspects while the onus to plead innocent can only be entertained and granted by the court of law.