The Customs Strike Force, Team A of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted 5,124 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa, along the coast of Lekki, Lagos.
The Customs Comptroller in charge of the team, Sani Yusuf, said this on Wednesday in Lagos during a media briefing.
Yusuf said the contraband, with an estimated duty paid value of N516 million, was intercepted following credible intelligence this January.
He added that the contraband was being moved directly from the ship to trucks before his men intercepted them.
He said: “The Cannabis was intercepted following a credible intelligence.
“We intercepted it somewhere around Lekki along the coast at midnight.
“On getting there, we saw several persons loading the contraband from the ship directly into the truck in spite of the sea waves.
“Immediately our officers got there, they discovered that they had already loaded the first truck, they were loading the second and third trucks when we got there, and there was pandemonium.
“Arriving at the scene, we saw some other agencies, we don’t know who they were.
“But after heated arguments, we were able to take the truck down to our office, and the people who were loading the consignment ran away.”
Yusuf explained that the officials were able to take one truck because it had already been loaded, parked outside and was waiting to be taken out before his men busted them.
He said: “This particular truck was parked outside while they were loading the other two trucks, they never knew we were coming.
“So, they had loaded this truck and kept it outside.
“So, when we came, while they were arguing, we decided it was better to take the one we were seeing and also for the safety of our officers.
“So, one of the officers drove the truck.”
Yusuf also said within the same period, the team also seized 705 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each with a duty-paid value of N42 million and also 11 bales of secondhand clothing with a DPV of N3 million.
Meanwhile, the Controller said between January and December 2022, the team seized different contrabands with a duty value of N9 billion.
He said the figure represented a 55 per cent increase when compared to N3.9 billion generated in 2021.
He added: “Among the items seized in 2022 included, 225mg of tramadol, 100mg of sildenafil citrate, codeine cough syrup, used tyres, bales of second-hand clothing, bags of foreign parboiled rice, containers of timber, pangolin scales, slabs of donkey skin, cannabis sativa among others.
“The sum of N5.8 billion was generated as revenue through demand notices from January to December 2022.”
Yusuf warned all unpatriotic importers and their agents who dared the Customs Officers that the service would not only make seizures, but its vigilant operatives would get them arrested to face the full wrath of the law.
He said the team had already reinvigorated its round-the-clock operations.
He said: “We are relying on our gallant and intelligent officers to suppress smuggling and prevent revenue loss because our commitment to doing better in 2023 and beyond is hereby renewed.”