Customs hold Eight over seizure of codeine syrups

GOODS worth over N2 billion were impounded by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) between July 25 and August 7, Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, Mohammed Uba, said yesterday.

He told reporters at the unit’s Ikeja, Lagos command, that 17 assorted vehicles were also seized.

Eight suspects, the outgoing controller said, were arrested.

The unit seized 17 posh vehicles with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N384 million.

Among the vehicles is a MAN diesel truck, registered as XB 286 BEN, carrying 2,748 cartons of DSP codeine cough syrup 100mg (100 per carton) and 95 cartons of Chaka pain Xtra.

The truck, it was learnt, was intercepted at Afromedia Estate, by Egbeda junction, near Alaba International Market.

The Nation gathered it was the second time the unit was intercepting the substance since the Federal Government banned importation of cough syrup containing codeine.

The substance is valued at N1.1 billion.

The driver, sources said, on fled on sighting FOU officers.

“Also, 49 cartons of Tramadol capsules 100mg were evacuated from a warehouse in Ajao Estate, based on information. The drugs will be handed over to National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC) for further investigation.

“Among the seizure was the evacuation of 21 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 1,031kg and four pieces of elephant tusk weighing 29.35kg from a shop located at Tejuosho market in Lagos, based on information.”

The Warehouse Operations team, the controller said, was led by AC Mutalib Sule.

“The occupant of the shop fled and is still at large, but investigation is on towards getting the culprit arrested and prosecuted,” he said.

The DPV of the seized goods, according to the controller, was over N253 million.

“You will recall that the Minister of State for Environment, Mallam Usman Jibril, accompanied by the CITES Delegates from UN, visited the unit, inspected the previous seizure of such endangered species this year and hailed us for a job well done. The trade on such endangered species is globally prohibited, hence the need for us to fight against such illegality.

“Also, within the weeks under review, the unit intercepted one Ford Transit bus with engine number XL32452L in Olorunda, Ogun State, conveying 39 sacks and 1,220 parcels of Cannabis Sativa popularly called Indian hemp, weighing 1, 610kg, concealed with baskets of fresh tomato, pepper and vegetable. In the spirit of inter-agency relationship, the seized substance will be handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further investigation. Other seized items include: 17 units of posh vehicles, 1,380 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 1, 126 pieces of used shoes and 140 jerry can of vegetable oil.

‘’Among the detained vehicles were seven Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility Vehicles (2015-2018), four Toyota Hiace buses (2017), two Toyota Coaster buses (2017)and four Toyota Camry (2014).

‘’Four of the vehicles, investigation showed, were intercepted on Ijebu-Ode Expressway, while 13 were evacuated from Plot 1, Akin Tailor Close, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, based on information.

“Eight suspects were nabbed in connection with the 25 seizures.

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