The announcement of the seizure was made by Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), and it was further gathered that Customs officers also intercepted a helicopter and an aircraft from the United States of America over failure to provide End-User-Certificate and other documents.
Attempt by the importers to bribe Customs officers with over $400,000 (about N150million), to effect the release of just one container out of the 40 seized, it was gathered, was rebuffed by the officers. Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) who spoke to journalists, disclosed that three suspect, including Customs officers, who cleared the containers have been arrested for further investigation.
“We are all aware of the dangers that the deliberate non-compliance to import and export procedures pose to our country as importers bring in all manner of items which put the security and health of the country at great risk.
“Terrorists, kidnappers and other criminal elements get hold of these un-custom goods such as controlled drugs to perpetrate their heinous activities. It is in line with the determination to fight this ugly trend that the Apapa Command of the Service intercepted 40 by 40 feet containers, mostly from India, laden with Tramadol and other pharmaceutical products with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N7,318, 978, 065.00.”
He added: “The Service achieved this feat through vigilance and intelligence gathering within the system as well as information from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which is a strong ally of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). I commend the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Monisola Adeyeye, and her management team for their collaboration in the attainment of this feat” he said.
He further disclosed that the one of the helicopters with registration number SN-BLI was intended for export, and was concealed in container number PONU7789246, while the second helicopter, a Cessna 182A, was imported into the country from the United States of America for unknown assignment.
Col. Hameed revealed that the first helicopter was falsely declared as 388 bags of cashew nuts, while the second was concealed in container number MRKU 4457663 before they were intercepted by some vigilant and patriotic officers of the command.