The Western Marine command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday stated that it made seizure of 29,660 parcels of cannabis sativa weighing 16,663 kg with street value of over N2 billion.
The seizure is arguably the highest single seizure in the history of the service in Nigeria.
Other seized items within the four months period under review include; 1575 bags of rice; 28735 litres of petrol; among others.
Speaking, the Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Abubakar Umar who revealed this during a press conference in Lagos on Thursday, noted that the seizures were between June and October, 2022.
While giving breakdown of the seizures, Comptroller Umar said the total seized Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana) weighed 16,663kg estimated to be worth N2,061,000,000; meanwhile, the seized 1575 bags of foreign parboiled rice amounts to more than 2 trailer load of rice worth N39,375,000.
Others are 28,735 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) contained in 1,077 kegs of 25liter size was equivalent to one tanker-load of PMS valued at N4,921,700 and other seizures were; 7 wooden boats with 4 engines as means of conveyance worth N13,750,000 and 2 sacks of suspected gun powder.
Comptroller Umar said, “The Cannabis Sativa was intercepted while on their way into the country from Ghana along our waterways.
Speaking further on the cannabis, Comptroller Umar said; “Importation like this won’t help our country’s development. We all know the harm that Cannabis Sativa poses to our youths.
“It is illegal to ship such contraband into Nigeria and we will continue to thwart the efforts of unscrupulous importers who derive joy in bringing in such substance into the country.”
The Customs boss, however, observed that arresting suspects connected to amphibian smuggling activities have been very difficult for the Command’s officers as the offenders usually dive into the waters.
On the recent developments in the command, the Customs top brass disclosed that“We are expecting 7 newly constructed boats. Right now we have nine boats and over 250 trained officers and we expect 50 more officers to join us from the training school later this year.
“These are obvious provisions that would enable the Command to be more resolute in its activities,” he added.
Continuing on the seizures, he added that “We don’t usually use our arms when apprehending these suspects or making seizures on the waterways because it’s usually at night and there are always fishermen.
“Our officers aren’t trigger happy, so they have to be cautious to avoid shooting at ordinary fishermen who still operate on these creeks and waterways at night,” Umar said.
Giving a sound warning to criminals involved in smuggling activities on the waterways, the Customs boss maintained that the Command would further intensify its anti-smuggling efforts as the yuletide season approaches.
He, however, thanked the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali and his management team for supporting the Command with the necessary facilities; highlighting the Command’s new conference room and the anticipated seven newly constructed patrol boats as worthwhile additions.