Again, Customs intercepts two boats of Indian Hemp at Ibeche Beach
The Western Marine Command (WMC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has again intercepted two wooden boats laden with 147 sacks of Cannabis Sativa otherwise known as Indian Hemp, at the Ibeche Beach along the Badagry lagoon, Lagos.
With an estimated gross mass of 6,615Kg at 45kg per sack, the substances with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Six Hundred and Ninety Four Million Five Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira (₦694, 575,000.00) only, was handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) weekend.
It will be recalled that the Command had last year arrested a large haul of the substance valued at over one billion naira at the same beach, losing the smugglers who reportedly jumped into the water and escaped.
Handing over the substances and six suspects arrested along the items to officials of NDLEA, Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters psc+ dss mnim, said “we are today handing these items with the six suspects over to the representative of NDLEA in line with established corporation and national interest. The command will leave nothing to chance in ensuring that no illegitimate trade will be allowed to ply the command’s operational territory.”
The WMC boss appealed to NDLEA to allow Customs witness the destruction of the seized marijuana for record purposes.
“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.”
Responding, the Apapa Seaport Special Area Commander of NDLEA, Samuel Bashir Gadzama , thanked the NCS for its fight against drug running and its immense support for the NDLEA, even as he promised that the agency will continue with investigation in a bid to stretch its search for all those involved in the illegitimate trade, and to bring them to book.
He said, “The Chairman of NDLEA, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (retired) has made it explicitly clear that Nigeria will no longer serve as transit route for illegal drug business. We are very happy with the support we have been receiving from the Customs and this Customs Marine Command.
“We are not going to stop at just receiving these substances, we will carry out further investigation, we want to know everyone involved in the chain, so that we can have them arrested and prosecuted.”
Speaking further on the command’s activities for the first quarter of 2021, Peters disclosed that the command made a total of twelve seizures which includes rice, marijuana, second hand clothing and premium motor spirit (PMS) known in local parlance as petrol 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.
He informed that United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently fulfilled its promise to install Video Teleconferencing CISCO WEBEX equipment at the command’s head office at Coconut Olodi-Apapa Lagos, in view of the command’s outstanding anti-smuggling performance, following the seizure of its last marijuana last year.
He said, “The UNODC headed by Miss Siji Song on 16 March 2021 visited the Command and handed over the VTC equipment which will aid the operational activities of the command and also assist the security agencies in response to the fight against piracy in the maritime industry.”
Peters said the command is in the process of installing the equipment, noting that the enabling tools are been put in place by the service. He expressed regret over the actions of unscrupulous elements in peddling drugs and illicit substances, which he said has worsened the nation’s criminal records; while noting that the fight against illicit drugs should be seen as a collective effort.
“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.”
He warned unscrupulous element to desist from smuggling and to seek legitimate means of livelihood, adding, “The operatives of WMC are always combat-ready to bring smuggling to its barest minimal. 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.”