The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has accused the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of not allowing it to properly inspect goods at the seaports.
Disclosing this in Abuja, director, Technical Services, NDLEA, Mr Femi Olurontoba, said the agency has been given the power just as the Nigeria Customs to work at the seaports.
He said, “While Customs will want to collect revenue, they allow illicit drugs to pass into the country by preventing us from doing our work.”
He also accused the military and the paramilitary as being involved in illicit drug abuse, adding that the military authorities have contacted them on how to stem the horrible situation.
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that the federal government recently banned importation of Tramadol, Codeine and other illicit drugs into the country.
On the controversy about the NDLEA operations at the port, it was learnt that the agency claims it has equal right to be part of operations at the seaports just as the Nigeria Customs and other agencies authorised to be at the ports.
LEADERSHIP Weekend reports that the controversy about NDLEA’s operations was taken to the presidency for redress but was not yet close to being over.
While acknowledging that Tramadol is solely imported from India, Oluruntoba said the Nigerian government is set to write the Indian authorities on the dangers of allowing such illicit drugs to be exported to Nigeria.
“Most of the Tramadol are imported from India. Nigerians went to India to import them. In fact, some Nigerians asked the Indian companies to manufacture such illicit drugs,’’ he said.
He said with the ban of Tramadol and Codeine from entering the country, NDLEA, through the federal government, will write India, asking them to respect Nigeria’s laws especially items that have been banned.
Meanwhile, the chairman/ chief executive of the NDLEA, Col Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), has raised the alarm over consistent rise in the influx of tramadol into Nigeria.
Speaking at a press conference to mark this year’s internal day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, tagged: Drugs Fuel Violence, Criminality, Abdallah said, “It may interest you to know that there has been consistent rise in the influx of tramadol into the country in the last two years, indicating that Nigeria has become a country of choice for illicit tramadol merchants.
“I am shocked and I am sure most Nigerians will be shocked to know that NDLEA has seized a total of 102, 90.48 kilograms of Tramadol between
January 2017 and March 2018, compared to 58,804.67 kilograms of the same drug seized in 2016.”
“The Tramadol seizure have far outweighed of seizures of cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine and other similar drugs put together. In one single operation in November last year, the agency intercepted 82 tons of tramadol made up of 160 million tablets. The drugs, which ranged from 220 to 250 milligrams, were imported from India using false documents in the name of an unregistered company.”
However, in a telephone interview with LEADERSHIP Weekend yesterday, the Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Joseph Attah, said, “I will be surprised if NDLEA is being correctly quoted. I do know that we have handed over several seizures of dangerous substances such as drugs to them. I want to believe they are being misquoted.”
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