By Gboyega Oni
A total of 570 parcels and 98 sacks of India Hemp weighing 1,550kg with duty paid value of N74, 400,000 were handed over today in Lagos by the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operation Unit, Ikeja, Lagos to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The seizure of the Indian hemp, the biggest in the history of the Unit as Comptroller Mohammed Uba, Controller of the Unit, disclosed while handing over the cannabis to Mr. Isiaka Opeloyeru, Head of Operation and Intelligence, NDLEA, was among the various prohibited goods seized by the Unit between March 19 and April 9, 2017 with duty paid value of N1, 461,006,823.8.
Other items seized were 64 exotic vehicles, 10 trailers of 6003 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 963 cartons of poultry products, 431 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 163 bales of used clothing, 569 pieces of used tyres, 69 bags of sugar, and four containers – 3 of 40ft and 1 of 20ft.
Comptroller Uba said the cannabis was seized at Olorunda in Ogun State based on intelligence and imagined what would have happened if such huge weigh of cannabis found its way into the society. He noted that the drug was handed over to NDLEA for further investigation.
Receiving the cannabis, Isiaka Opeloyeru commended the Unit for its cooperation with NDLEA in the fight against circulation of hard drug in the country and assured that necessary investigation would be done to unravel the perpetrators.
The Unit, said by the Controller, recovered within March a sum of One Hundred and Sixty Six Million, Two Hundred and Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty Five Naira, Twenty Five Kobo from duty payment and demand notices on general goods from seaports, airport and border stations through wrong classification, transfer of value and short change in duty.
Cumulatively, the Unit collected One Billion, Six Hundred and Twenty Seven Million, Two Hundred and Fourteen Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Nine Naira only (NN1, 627,214,559) into the coffers of the Federal Government within the weeks under review.
Sending a warning signal to smugglers and intending ones to desist from malpractices and invest their money in legitimate business, Comptroller Mohammed Uba said the Unit has devised other operational modalities that would cripple smugglers and land them in jail.
Thanking the Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) for the logistic support given to the Unit in the discharge of its responsibilities, Comptroller said 10 suspects were arrested in connection with the 86 seizures.