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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

2022: Customs Tincan Island Command Makes N574bn Revenue, N1.8bn Seizures; Facilitates $589m Export

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Author: Cynthia Idowu; Lagos

The Tincan Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced revenue collection of N574,290,210,599.38 from January to December 2022, indicating an increase of N80bn (16.33%) from the N493,682,369,264.35 collected in 2021.

In the area of export, the Command recorded a significant increase in the FOB of Exports in the period under review to the tune of $589,696,648 (N242,365,322,333.00) as against the $496,075,796 (141,985,109,159.00) recorded in the year 2021, which shows a decrease in Tonnage of Export from 1,723,986.8 in 2021 to 336,179.5 in 2022.

The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede made this known during a press briefing
on Friday at the Command Headquarters in Lagos.

He further disclosed that the increase in revenue was due to the modalities put in place such as the identification of areas of revenue leakages, blocking same, and leveraged on available facilities on the NICIS II Platform for enhanced Risk Management which further enhanced accelerated Customs Clearance Processes, Trade Facilitation and ensured collection of appropriate duties and taxes.

The Command made a total of 38 seizures including 763pkgs of cannabis Sativa weighing 345.1kg with a street value of N714,600,000, 2594 pieces of ammunition, and other prohibited items, with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,846,372,083.50.

A total of 60 suspects were detained during the period under review and were granted administrative bail while the Command has 8 cases pending in court.

The CAC acknowledged the prominent roles played by the Customs Intelligence Unit, Valuation Unit, Federal Operations Unit, CGC Strike Force, and Customs Police as well as interventions of Sister Regulatory Agencies like the NDLEA, NAFDAC, DSS, SON, the Nigeria Police, and others in ensuring the seizures and detentions were made.

Compt. Oloyede pointed out that the Command also ensured robust and continuous stakeholder engagements and collaboration with all sister government agencies and maritime associations, which led to timely intelligence sharing, utilization, and voluntary compliance with the government’s extant laws by the trading public.

“The Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) which is a structure put in place by the Command for prompt resolution of Trade Disputes led to a reduction in average clearance time of such issue laden imports”.

Speaking further on the VIN valuation and automation of 846 procedure, he said: “The VIN Valuation has simplified and facilitated the Customs Clearance Process of imported vehicles by providing a uniform, fair and neutral value across the board on vehicles with identical brands, model and year of manufacture in line with the provisions of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of 1994.

“Regardless, the Command is poised to continue building on the Automation, Simplification, Standardization, and Harmonization of all Customs Processes in line with the Revised Kyoto Convention and international best practices”.

The CAC thanked the
Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Ibrahim Hameed Ali (rtd), and his management, officers and men of the Command, stakeholders, and the media for their support.

He also appreciated sister agencies involved in the export chain with special commendation to the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) for their seamless collaboration in facilitating the clearance process of export-related cargo at the Tincan Island Port Command.

Compt. Oloyede’s 2023 projection for the Command includes an improved revenue profile, facilitation of legitimate trade, and enhanced capacity and skills of officers and men of the Command.

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Customs Corner

Ag. ACG Yusuf Malanta Hands Over Apapa Command to Comptroller Auwal Mohammed

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Authorw: Lucy Ulugbe; Lagos.

Newly Promoted Acting, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs Yusuf Malanta has handed over the mantle of leadership of Apapa Command to Comptroller Auwal Mohammed.

Speaking at the handover ceremony which took place at the Command on Friday, the elated out-going Area Controller, Ag. ACG Yusuf Malanta encouraged officers at the Command to extend his successor, Comptroller Mohammed, the same level of support he received while heading the Command.

He described him as a dedicated officer who believes strongly in due process.

“We are now in the era of due process. I know Comptroller Auwal can do it better, he has a much more midas touch”

“I urge the stakeholders to continue to be compliant, the era of cutting corners should stop, go straight and you would be there earlier than you think. Trade can only be predicted when you are compliant” he added.

In response, the new Area Controller, Auwal Mohammed appreciated the outgoing CAC for inheriting a well-structured Command, while also noting that he is ready for the job and prepared to surpass the N1 Trillion revenue generated by the Command in 2022.

“I will make sure we continue to conduct 100% physical examination so that we can account for all cargoes in every container, by so doing, the revenue will be sustained, and when we make the port user-friendly, more volume of trade will come in, and more revenue will be collected and we will surpass the N1 Trillion already achieved”. He said.

As part of efforts to reward excellence, Acg. Malanta presented awards to deserving officers for excellent performance.

“The Service is rewarding those who have played a good role in ensuring that the Customs system is enhanced and compliance is strictly adhered to. However, the fact that your name isn’t called doesn’t mean that your work isn’t recognized. You should continue to blow your trumpets by yourself with exemplary conduct and professionalism”. He said.

One of the recipients of the awards was the public relations officer of the Command, Usman Abubakar.

The awards extended to excellent officers of sister agencies from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

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Customs Corner

Customs PTML Command Raises 2022 Revenue By 2.2%, Bids Farewell To Ag. ACG Suleiman Bomai

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Author: Cynthia Idowu; Lagos.

The Ports and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) of the Nigeria Customs Service, Lagos which is known majorly for the clearance of non-containerized cargoes has revealed the scorecard of the Command for the year 2022.

Speaking with Journalists at the Conference room of the Command, the Customs Area Controller now Acting Assistant Comptroller General Suleiman Bomai said, despite the recorded downtime occasioned by Agents’ strike and
the inability of some Importers to clear their Vehicles, the Command witnessed an increase of 2.2% in revenue generation.

“In the year 2022, the Command generated total revenue of Two hundred and twenty-nine billion, four hundred and seventy-three million, nine hundred and twelve thousand, nine hundred and seventy- six naira, ninety-seven kobo (N229,473,912,976.97) only. This represents about Ninety-six percent of the revenue target of Two hundred and thirty-eight billion, two hundred and twenty-four million, nine hundred and twenty thousand, thirty-eight eighty-eight kobo (N238,224,920,038.88) only.”

“This shows an increase of Five billion, three million, seven hundred and ninety-nine thousand, two hundred and forty-three naira only. (N5,003,799,243.00) over the revenue for the year 2021 which was Two hundred and twenty-four billion, four hundred and seventy million, one hundred and thirteen thousand, seven hundred and thirty-three naira (N224,470,113,733.00) only.” Bomai reiterated.

On Export trade, the Acting ACG said that exported commodity goods such as Cocoa, Sesame seeds, Palm oil, and other food items had a total tonnage of about one hundred and seventy-eight thousand, five hundred and seventy-two point thirteen, (178,572.13) metric tons, with a total Free on Board (FOB) value of Two hundred and forty-nine million, four hundred and ninety thousand, six hundred and four point fifty-two (USD), ($249,419,604.52) only in the year 2022.

In anti-smuggling, the PTML Command made seizures which include a 1X40ft container containing three vehicles used to conceal two firearms, one used Ford Edge containing Fire Arm and thirty rounds of live cartridges, one used Toyota sienna containing firearm, and one used Toyota corolla containing ninety rounds of live ammunition. All with a duty paid value of Total duty paid value of Thirty-six million, three hundred and sixteen thousand, one hundred and fifty-five naira only (#36,316,155.00).

With the help of an efficient and accessible dispute resolution committee strengthened under Bomai’s watch, the trade facilitation of the PTML sustained its average four-hour clearance time of vehicles for compliant traders.

He thanked the CGC Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) for his enormous support for the Command, the strategic Partners which include; the Nigeria Police, NDLEA, NAFDAC, SON, etc, and the private sector players which are the strategic Stakeholders.

The Acting ACG who assumed office on the 26th of August, 2022 bade the Command farewell as he transferred the Staff of Office of the PTML Command to the incoming Area Controller, Comptroller Aliyu Mahmud Ibrahim.

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