5,124 kilograms of Cannabis sativa have been intercepted off the shores of Lekki, Lagos, by the Customs Strike Force, Team A, Ikeja.
Sani Yusuf, the Customs Comptroller at the head of the team, told reporters on Wednesday at the command that the contraband, with an estimated duty-paid value of N516 million, was discovered in January 2023 as a result of reliable intelligence.
Before his troops spotted the contraband, he said, it was being transported straight from the ship to trucks.
“The Cannabis was intercepted following a credible intelligence. We intercepted it somewhere around Lekki along the coast at midnight. On getting there, we saw a lot of men loading the contrabands from the ship directly into the truck despite the sea waves.
“Immediately our officers got there, they discovered that they have already loaded the first truck; they were loading the second and third trucks when we got there, there was pandemonium. Arriving at the scene, we saw some other agencies, we don’t know who they were. But after lots of heated arguments, we were able to take the truck down to our office, and the people who were loading the consignment ran away,” Yusuf said.
Yusuf said they were able to take one truck because it has already been loaded, parked outside and was waiting to be taken out before his men busted them.
“This particular truck was parked outside while they were loading the other two trucks, they never knew we were coming. So they had loaded this truck and kept it outside. So when we came, while they were arguing we decided it is better we take the ones are seeing and also for the safety of our officers. So one of the officers drove the truck”
Yusuf also said that in the same January, the team also seized 705 bags of foreign parboiled rice 50kg each with a duty-paid value of N42m and also 11 bales of secondhand clothing with a DPV of N3m.
Meanwhile, the Controller said that between January to December 2022, the team seized different contrabands with a duty value of N9bn, adding that the year witnessed a robust anti-smuggling drive marked by tremendous success.
He said that the figure represented a 55 percent increase when compared to N3.9bn generated in the year 2021.
Among the items seized in 2022 included, “225mg of tramadol, 100mg of sildenafil citrate, codeine cough syrup, used tyres, bales of second-hand clothing, bags of foreign parboiled rice, containers of timber, pangolin scales, slabs of Donkey skin, Cannabis sativa among others. The sum of N5.8bn was generated as revenue through demand notices from January to December 2022”
According to him, “Let me once again sound this as a warning to all unpatriotic importers and their agents who go the extra mile in daring us. We shall not only make seizures, but our ever-vigilant operatives will also get them arrested to face the full wrath of the law”
Yusuf, however, warned that the team had already reinvigorated their round-the-clock operations.
“We are relying on our gallant and intelligent officers to suppress smuggling and prevent revenue loss because our commitment to doing better in 2023 and beyond is hereby renewed”