The federal government said it would soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India in order to check importation of the illicit, banned and regulated drugs into Nigeria.
Speaking in Lagos over the weekend when the comptroller – general of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col Handed Ali (rtd) inspected 40 containers of Tramadol which were intercepted at the Apapa ports command, he said the Service has begun discussions with the India government.
A total of 51 containers of the drugs were intercepted at the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports last week.
The Customs boss noted that already, discussions were in top gear with the ambassador of India in Nigeria to see how both countries can have a mutual understanding that would enable the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to have foreknowledge of every import from India into Nigeria.
Ali said, “Interestingly, last week, I was with the ambassador of India and we were talking about fast-tracking the MoU for the Customs mutual agreement. If we sign this, it would enable us have timely information on all export or import to Nigeria and vice versa. As of today, we haven’t gotten that agreement signed, so we cannot insist on anything except what they oblige us.”
Ali assured that once the agreement was signed, it becomes mandatory on the Customs administration of India to provide information on export meant for Nigeria.
“We are working hard and very soon we would get that agreement signed, but for now we have to rely on our intelligence,” he said.
The Customs boss also hinted that the Service was about to announce a new welfare package for all officers. He, however, charged the personnel to be internally motivated, according to him, internal motivation was more important than welfare packages.
“Since I came into the Nigeria Customs Service about three years now, my concern has been about the welfare of my people. For any change to happen, you don’t put the people first, you are going to fail.