The Tincan Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service said it rejected the N50m bribe offered by a smuggler involved in the importation of tramadol and other drugs for his container release.
The Customs Area Comptroller of Tincan, Mr Adekunle Oloyede, said this on Monday while addressing journalists at the command.
He said that the suspect, Mr Boniface Ike, accepted ownership of two 40-foot containers arrested carrying drugs with the duty paid value of N550m.
He added that the money brought by the suspect would be tendered as an exhibit.
“One of the suspects in custody, Mr. Boniface Ike accepted that he is the owner (importer) of the two containers and sought to discuss privately with the command. I instructed my officers to play along, the request was granted with expectations 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 N50m which is equivalent to $54,330 at the current exchange rate of N920/$. The money was collected and kept in safe custody at the enforcement unit to be tendered as an exhibit”, Oloyede said.
He added that a total of two suspects were arrested and are currently in the custody of the enforcement unit of the command.
He said that the seized containers of pharmaceuticals were coming from India.
Giving details of the seizure he said, “The command received timely intelligence from the command’s intelligence unit on the suspected importation of illicit dangerous, unregistered regulated pharmaceutical products concealed in two 40ft containers with bill of lading numbers 227578945 and 227898171.”
Oloyede said on the arrival of the vessel at Tincan Island Container Terminal, the containers with numbers, MRSU 592397/0 and MRKU 553432/1 were transferred immediately to the enforcement station for 100 per cent physical examination and further investigation.
He said one of the containers with the number, MRSU 592397/0 and bill of lading number, 227578945, was said to contain, 1016 packages of electrical goods but the examination showed something different.
“Examination showed the container contained, five cartons of Timaking 120 Tapentadol (Tramadol) Hydrochloride Carisoprodol capsule. Each carton contains 50 rolls, each roll contains 5 packets, each packet 200 tablets, 84 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. 50 cartons of manual grater machine-70 pieces per carton as a means of concealment. One carton of ceiling fan as a means of concealment.”
He said the second container with the number, MRKU 553432/1, and bill of lading number, 227898171, was said to contain 1, 021 packages of electrical materials.
“But 100 per cent physical inspection showed that that the container contained, 10 cartons of Super Royal 225 Tramadol, each carton contains 50 rolls, each roll contains 10 packets, each packet 10 tablets. 105 cartons of Omeprazole Capsule BP 200mg each carton contains 50 packets, and each packet contains 10 capsules. 754 cartons of barcadin with codeine 100 ml. Each carton contains 200 Bottles. 50 cartons of manual grater machine, 70 pieces per carton as means of concealment. One carton of Compo Ceiling Fan as means of concealment.”
Oloyede said that the unregistered pharmaceutical products intercepted are regulated products by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control.
He reiterated that the drugs didn’t have the required permits and certificates for importation.
“The documents are to ascertain the safety of the products to Nigerians, hence these illicit dangerous drugs were concealed.”
He said that the suspects, containers and the exhibit will be handed over to the agencies that are in charge of regulation of such importation.
He added that the service may decide to prosecute according to the Service Act, Nigeria Customs Service Act.
Oloyede also added that another container with registration number, TTNU 804678/9 carrying frozen poultry products was also intercepted.
“The SDG and other supporting documents like FORM M, others, stated tangerine which was used to conceal the frozen poultry products imported. The container has been seized.”
Oloyede said that the persistent fraudulent nature of importers and agents drives the command to be more innovative in putting methods and measures to combat smuggling activities.