By Jerry Aguigbo
In furtherance to it’s stance on illicit trade, especially Smuggling of hard, banned or restricted drugs, which has had some debilitating effect on the Nigerian populace across board, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday, said that it intercepted 299 cartons of codeine syrup (hard drugs), 5, 600 litres of petrol and other contrabands worth over N100 million along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.
Disclosing this to Journalists at the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, Lagos, Ag. Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, said that NCS is again drawn national attention to the danger of unrestricted access to the use of dangerous drugs, with the effects very evident on the youths.
Adeniyi, went further to say that Codeine syrup is designated as a controlled item due to its rampant abuse by our delinquent youths, adding that the misuse and unchecked distribution of codeine-containing medications have given rise to grave security and public health concerns, contributing to a surge in addiction, adverse health effects, and societal challenges.
Not resting on its oars, the NCS has continued to implement regulatory measures to curtal the availability of these drugs.
“As part of NCS unwavering commitment to safeguarding the society and protecting the well-being of citizens, the NCS has once again demonstrated its dedication to eradicating the menace of drug trafficking. Last week, officers of the Federal Operating Unit Zone A, acting on credible intelligence, flagged down a DAF truck close to Ijebu-Ode Junction. An examination of the truck revealed the concealment of 299 cartons of codeine syrup along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.
This underscores the importance of addressing this issue as part of broader efforts to safeguard public health and well-being. On our part, we will continue to partner with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA),and other relevant government agencies to curb the spread of the menace and protect the future generations of Nigerians,” he added.
According to him, smugglers of rice and premium motor spirit continued to test the Customs’ will to put them out of business, adding that smuggling of rice undermines the nation’s revenue drive even as food security is seriously compromised.
According to him, even with the excruciating effects of fuel subsidy removal on the nation’s economy, smugglers are still bent on attempting to smuggle PMS to neighbouring countries.
“They met their waterloo in different operations conducted by officers of NCS. The following seizures of both items were recorded, A total of 4, 252 bags of foreign Parboiled rice (50 kg each) at Dangote/Imashayi Ogun State, Saki Axis Oyo State, Owode/Ado Odo in Ogun state, Idiroko/Ohumbe Ogun State, Okoko Mile 2 Axis in Lagos State and Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State.
“Similarly, 5,600 litres of premium motor spirit were intercepted and seized when smugglers attempted to take out these strategic resource through Oja-odan axis in Ogun State. Other items seized in the last two weeks included: 291 Bales of Second-hand Clothing, 57 sacks and four jumbo Sacks of used shoes, 486 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products, 190 pieces of rugs, five units of vehicles and 170 pieces of used tyres
“These seizures are a fallout of our uncompromising position to strictly enforce the law and protect the lives of our people. The codeine syrup, which is reportedly being abused by mostly young persons in society, is associated with addiction and, in the long-term, results in anxiety, depression, memory loss, and damage to the liver, kidneys and brain.
It is pertinent to note that the damaging effects of drugs have led to preventable deaths for consumers taking them outside doctors’ prescriptions.
“The 340 pieces of used tyres seized within the first two weeks of August 2023 by this unit is not only limited to the implementation of import prohibition lists but also a giant stride to mitigate auto crashes caused by smuggled used tyres.
“These tyres are squeezed, compressed and tucked into themselves for ease of concealment, thereby causing them to crack. They are oftentimes expired, their rigidity and strength compromised. Drivers could experience a blowout or sudden rupture as the steel wire meant to keep the tyres in shape has been disorganised in the course of smuggling,” Adeniyi said.