BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
A cargo vessel, MV Chanyanee Naree from Brazil laden with thirty parcels weighing 32.9 Kilograms of cocaine has been uncovered at the Apapa Port.
The discovery was made by a joint operation involving the Nigeria Customs Service, Inter Pol , Nigerian Navy, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
According to a statement by the Customs Command Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent Usman Abubakar, the joint operation was initiated following intelligence about the ship’s content shared by interpol to the various agencies.
The statement said the intelligence necessitated close monitoring of the ship using high maritime domain awareness system.
The statement further added that the sting operations followed customs headquarters directive to the Apapa Command to follow up on the ship with other government agencies.
The statement reads: “This was jointly done for days. After meticulously searching the vessel with the aid of sniffer dogs, the suspected substance was discovered and referred to the NDLEA for tests, which confirmed it to be cocaine.
“The vessel which departed Santos, Brazil on September 19, 2021 and drifted for about a week off the coast of Benin Republic from October I to October 8 2021 before it arrived Nigeria.
“Intelligence report obtained from the ship’s captain confirmed that Brazil Customs had earlier intercepted 150kg of cocaine from one of the ship’s compartments when she berthed at Sopep Locker, Brazil on September 19,2021.”
The ship was berthed under arrest at Terminal C in Apapa where the security agencies did a search on her.
Explaining the arrest, the statement said, “Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf said the command relied on provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) sections 49, 50 and 51 to conduct the exercise.
“Comptroller Yusuf who said the discoverd drug has been kept in the custody of NDLEA, commended the synergy and described it as very productive.
“He added that more search is ongoing on the vessel and any additional discovery will be made known to the public.”