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‘We prevent smuggling to suppress crime’

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Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hameed Ali has said the service is directly suppressing violent crimes in the country through its sustained fight against smuggling of illicit drugs.

Ali spoke in Sagamu, Ogun State, during the destruction of smuggled tramadol and other illicit drugs seized by the service.

Represented by the Assistant Comptroller-General in charge of Zone A, Mrs. Kaycee Ekekezie, Ali said smugglers of prohibited substances have been deploying antics of packaging to disguise the items to beating Customs check.

He said: “I am standing here with mixed feelings because money that should have been used for better productive purposes will be destroyed. People should never see smuggling as a trade; it is a crime. I urge all importers to take advantage of the customs portal and be sure of the status of whatever they want to import.”

Chairman of the joint committee comprising Customs and National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Aminu Dahiru said 58 containers valued at N14,706,322,871 are up for destruction.

Dahiru added that his CGC believes in the synergy between customs and other organisations in the fight against sub-standard, unregistered drugs and abuse of regulated products.

According to him, most violent crimes like robberies, kidnappings, banditry and others, are linked to consumption of illicit drugs.

“We are starting the destruction here because of the high volume of seizures made in the Southwest where a lot of Customs activities take place. We shall be doing similar destructions in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Bauchi, where we have customs zones.

“Residents and stakeholders in these areas should await our invitations soon. These drug seizures were made in the face of attacks, maiming, killings and other unwarranted provocations. Even as we are here, some of our anti-smuggling officers have been receiving threats for their exploits.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, who was represented by Emejezie MD, hailed customs efforts in preventing smuggling. According to her, the approved milligrams for tramadol is 50 and 100 milligrams, while the higher milligrams above 100 are prohibited.

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