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Customs Corner

Apapa Customs Command Impounds Tramadol Drugs Worth N1.5 Billion Concealed In Chocolates

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Apapa Customs Command Impounds Tramadol Drugs Worth N1.5 Billion Concealed In Chocolates

Author: Cynthia Idowu; Lagos.

One by 40ft (1×40ft) Container laden with 20 Cartons Containing 838,500 pieces of trapacking tablets (225mg) and 90,010 pieces of trapacking capsules (120mg) cleverly hidden in assorted bubble gums and candies has been seized by the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service.

While briefing Newsmen at the Classic Bonded Terminal, Ago Palace Way Festac, Lagos where the illicit drugs were seized and showcased, the Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf, said the container was abandoned by the importer for close to four months, having sensed it might have been tracked by Customs Operatives to the Terminal.

“The container has been in the port since July 3, moving from the port down to here (bonded terminal). The importer is trying to buy time to see whether he can undermine our operatives, but we are really on top of our game and will continue to be. If he is not tired of investing, we are also not going to be tired of making him lose his investments.”

“The importer had cleverly concealed these drugs at the back end of the container just to undermine our operatives. We searched the container, we found out that there are 20 cartons of this kind of drugs. Trapaking 225 contains 838,500 tablets, while for Trapaking Caps 120mg, 90,010 capsules. We thank God for giving us the wisdom and zeal to be able to track it and make seizure because it contravenes sections 46 and 47 of CEMA Cap C45, the law of the Federation of Nigeria” he revealed.

According to Malanta, the hard drugs were imported from India “The country of origin of the drugs is India, and we have talked about our layers of control architectures apart from the collaboration and intelligence received, this is purely the work of the operatives and officers here in this Command. And I don’t have to explain how we taught them to do this work, but I’m sure not only this terminal, other terminals in the port operate the same way, so there is no hiding place.”

The CAC decried the harmful effect of the drugs as they are more deadly than normal tramadol. He thereby warned unrepentant importers to desist or face the wrath of the Service as Ports under his watch won’t contain such illicit trade.

“The CGC Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has initiated the e-Customs modernization which is a complete automation of customs business processes. This begins from the port of loading to the destination where the manifest would show the content of the cargo. We believe that with the introduction of that system, every illicit cargo will be trapped, not only drugs” he assured.

While praising the effort of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and other Sister Security Agencies at the Port for their fearless fight against illicit drugs, he said the importation of Tramadol Drug into the Country is a near impossibility as the supply is difficult compared to past years.

Similarly, the NDLEA Commander, Apapa Special Area Command, Ishiaka Yusuf Kwajaffa extolled the ruggedness of the Nigeria Customs Service in ridding the nation of such banned illicit substance, he assured also that NDLEA is all out to track all drug barons in the Country and bring them to book.

“It is written 120mg, but it is just in form of a cover. The actual potency of this is almost 15 times the normal tramadol. This is the first time I’m coming across this particular one called Tepintedol, also a brand of Tramadol, even though it’s written as 120mg, it is just a cover.”

“We have here about 800,500 tablets and 90,000 capsules. The current street value is about N1,560,000,000 for these 20 cartons; each carton goes for about N78 million. It might tend to go up because of the pressure we are putting on them, so it’s going to be so scarce. Just like in economics, the lower the supply, the higher the demand and price; so we are ready for them”. Kwajaffa stated.

The NDLEA Commander thereby warmed all illicit drug dealers to engage in legitimate trades or fall into the Web of the Law.

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Customs Corner

Customs Kickstarts 2-Day ICT/Modernization Retreat for Management Team

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Author: Muhammad Bashir.

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, marked Friday, 1 March 2024, as a pivotal moment for his administration, heralding an era of digital transformation within the Service.

Addressing attendees at the 2-day NCS 2024 ICT—Modernization Management Retreat in Abuja, CGC Bashir Adewale reiterated his commitment to leveraging technology to streamline customs operations. He emphasized the importance of engaging stakeholders to ensure the seamless execution of this ambitious project.

“In 2024, we cannot afford to remain entrenched in outdated practices. Stakeholders are demanding a Customs Service that embraces technology to enhance efficiency and transparency.” CGC Adeniyi remarked.

Encouraging his Management Team, particularly in ICT, to champion the digitalization efforts, he urged them to harness internal resources to expedite the implementation of the electronic cargo tracking system.

He, however, emphasized that “It is imperative that we modernize every facet of the Customs Enforcement Ecosystem. We must also integrate technology to fortify our operations.”

Welcoming the CGC to the retreat, the Chairman of Trade Modernization Project Limited, Alhaji Saleh Ahmadu, lauded the CGC’s resolve, highlighting the pivotal role of trade in national development. He underscored that the modernization initiative would revolutionize the NCS’s operations, fostering a conducive environment for trade across Nigeria and the African continent.

Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of ICT/Modernisation, ACG Kikelomo Adeola, commended the CGC’s unwavering commitment to the project. She highlighted its significance in reshaping, digitizing, and modernizing the Service’s activities.

“Welcome to this landmark retreat, where we embark on a journey to recalibrate and modernize the Service, aligning it with international standards.” ACG Adeola stated.

The NCS 2024 ICT-Modernization Management Retreat sets the stage for a transformative era in the Nigeria Customs Service, signaling its readiness to embrace technological advancements in pursuit of operational excellence.

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Customs Corner

Customs Oyo/Osun Command Intercepts Fake Drugs, Others, Worth Over N1.8B

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…As Comptroller Ben Expresses Dedication to Protect Well-being of Citizens

Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service, Oyo/Osun Area Command, has intercepted sacks of fake Pharmaceutical drugs worth over N1.8billion.

Customs Area Controller Comptroller Ben Oramalugo disclosed this to reporters during a press briefing at the Command headquarters on Thursday, February 29, 2024.

Comptroller Ben stated that the Commands anti-smuggling activities have been strategically positioned to ensure the Federal Government’s policy on border closure is totally enforced by preventing the importation of prohibited items harmful to the great citizens of Nigeria. He also expressed the effort to prevent the exportation of essential food resources for individual economic gains by some economic saboteurs.

“We have successfully intercepted and seized contraband goods, including items that pose threats to economic stability and lives of citizens in the country,” He added.

Highlights of the seizures include 53 sacks of fake Pharmaceutical drugs with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of ₦1,739,000,000.00, 1,309 pieces of used tyres with a DPV of ₦70,140,000.00.

Others are; 345 × 50kg bags of Foreign Parboiled Rice, 344 × 25 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 4 Wraps (4 Kilogram) of Indian Hemp, 45 Sacks, 8 Sacks (9 Bales) of Used Clothings and Shoes, 34 Cartons of Foreign Wine, and 40 Bottles (5 litres), 21 Bottles (1 litres) of Foreign Vegetable Oil, all with a Total DPV of N1,890,022,931.00.

The CAC stated that, despite the prevailing economic challenges, the Command demonstrated resilience and efficiency in revenue generation by collecting the sum of N5,664,295,751.15 in February 2024. When added to the sum of N6,824,954,338.96, already collected for January 2024, the cumulative sum of N12,489,250,090.11 was collected so far for the fiscal year of 2024.

Comptroller Ben reiterated that all Borders within the Commands Area of Responsibility are still closed due to the Federal Government policy on Border closure and as such, “Command Officers remain vigilant and dedicated to preventing the smuggling of items that could compromise the health and well-being of our citizens.”

He appreciated the efforts of all Traditional Rulers, Local Government Chairmen and Key Stakeholders in both Oyo and Osun States, who have continued to enlighten their people about the negative effect of smuggling on the economy.

The CAC expressed the Nigeria Customs Service’s unwavering commitment to transparency, accountability, and the nation’s overall well-being. “We are confident that, through collective efforts, we can overcome the challenges we face and contribute to a more secure and prosperous future for Nigeria.”

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Customs Corner

COWA Collaborates with Youths, Women to Combat Drug Abuse

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Author: Iruoghene Abra, Muhammad Bashir.

The National President of the Customs Officers’ Wives Association (COWA), Mrs. Kikelomo Adeniyi, has expressed readiness to partner with the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria as part of her plans to empower women through various ‘progressive’ programs aimed at improving their economic status.

Mrs. Kikelomo made this declaration during a meeting with members of the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria, led by Ambassador Ibrahim Ibrahim, at the COWA National Secretariat on Thursday, 29 February 2024. She also emphasized her dedication to supporting women through educational initiatives.

In an address, Mrs. Kikelomo commended the organization’s executives for their tireless efforts in achieving the organization’s goals and objectives. She urged the young executives to continue their exemplary work in serving humanity.

Highlighting COWA’s activities, the President outlined initiatives such as providing support for women and children, empowering them with new skills and startup kits, and serving as the voice for the voiceless in society.

She emphasized that COWA stands as a pillar of support for wives and children during times of need, advocating for the rights of women who face similar challenges and discrimination in society.

Addressing the importance of mutual support, the COWA National President stressed the significance of women supporting each other to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential.

She remarked, “The strength of a woman should not be measured by the challenges she faces but by her resilience in overcoming them.”

Continuing, she emphasized, “A healthy wife brings a wealthy life, as the well-being of women is crucial for the prosperity of households and communities.”

Mrs. Adeniyi highlighted the transformative power of education for women, stating, “When women are empowered, they contribute significantly to the economy, health, education, and all sectors of society, leading to positive change.”

She advocated for women to hold significant societal positions, citing their consistent ability to surpass expectations.

Mrs. Adeniyi reiterated COWA’s commitment to empowering women and children, expressing willingness to collaborate with the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria to achieve shared objectives.

In response, the National Coordinator of the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria, Ambassador Ibrahim Ibrahim, briefed COWA on the organization’s activities, which include encouraging women to embrace education and advocating against child abuse and domestic violence.

He highlighted the organization’s focus on supporting widows and children, facilitating skill acquisition, and caring for the elderly, praising Mrs. Adeniyi’s leadership and integrity expressing confidence in her ability to lead COWA to greater heights.

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