Home News Customs boss threatens sanctions on officers aiding hard drugs smuggling

Customs boss threatens sanctions on officers aiding hard drugs smuggling

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The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has fingered unscrupulous officers working with bonded terminal operators to smuggle hard drugs out of the nation’s seaports

Adeniyi, who stated this over the weekend when he displayed the Tin-Can Island ports interception of 1,072 kilogrammes of cannabis indica as well as other pharmaceutical drugs worth N4.1 billion, said the syndicate working through the system are subverting government’s effort in maintaining a drug-free society.

Adeniyi, however, assured that the service would soon name and shame and even arrest those involved in the act.

Adeniyi described the modus operandi of the syndicate to include; movement of imported containers from the port on transfer without the containers being examined, and rather than go straight to the bonded warehouse in town, the container goes straight to owners premises.

He said, “What we have seen reinforces some ongoing attempts by some criminal elements using the network of customs agents, Nigeria customs officers, terminal operators to undermine our system. We have seen, recently, a growing number of containers that were either not examined in the port before they are released or those that were stemmed down into terminals, they left the ports on transire, but they never got to those terminals and some of them found their ways into the premises of the importers for whatever nefarious activities or the other”.

“This amounts to where our processes and our procedures are deliberately compromised for their selfish interests. We are looking beyond the facts of revenue lost, we are looking at situations like this if these kinds of drugs have found their ways out of the ports and into the hands of criminal elements, the kind of danger it poses to national security.

“We have gone very far in identifying those elements within the service and outside the service, and we will not spare any of them. We will not spare the customs officers involved, we will not spare the terminal operators, we will not spare those bonded warehouses that use their facilities as sanctuaries for this kind of illegitimate business”.

The Customs boss, however, disclosed that a lot of terminals that are involved in these nefarious activities cut across Tin-Can Island Port.

“They are not only Tin Can Island Port. We got intelligence from Tin Can, Apapa, Onne and Port Harcourt ports. The use of off-dock terminals, bonded terminals and facilities like this is to facilitate trade to allow people to carry containers on transit or transfer to those inland container terminals.

“We have some of them also outside Lagos also outside Lagos. It is not all about the terminals inside Lagos. We have seen in our intelligence that seems to suggest that there are a lot of discrepancies going on. A lot of abuse of our procedures and this abuse is not possible without the connivance of our officers. So that is why I’m saying perhaps some officers are also involved”, he added

Upon investigation, he said NCS would be glad to announce those who are capable and the Service will apply the heaviest sanctions that are provided in Customs’ law including those of its officers.

“We have gone very far in identifying those elements within the service and outside the service, and we will not spare any of them. We will not spare the Customs officers involved, we will not spare the terminal operators, we will not spare those bonded warehouses that use their facilities as sanctuaries for this kind of illegitimate business”, he said.

He also said the service had intercepted large consignments of illicit drugs including cannabis indica, prohibited codeine and other illicit drugs, from Canada and India.

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