The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Saturday disclosed that it intercepted over 100,000 bottles of codeine syrup at the Onne Seaport in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with a total weight of 15,325 kgs.
Speaking in Abuna, the spokesperson of the agency, Femi Babafemi, said the illicit substance, cough syrup with codeine (100mg), was packed in 500 cartons and concealed in a container marked MRKU 1565305, bearing imported food masks made in India.
He said the consignment was discovered on Thursday, 10 June 2021 in a warehouse at the Onne port complex.
According to him, the illicit drugs were discovered during a joint examination with officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), State Security Service (SSS), and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others.
However, the seizure followed an intelligence received by NDLEA, while the container was put on hold, and moved to the Customs Government warehouse within the port complex.
Babafemi noted that no importer or agent has come forward in respect of the container, however, he said efforts are ongoing to track the owner for further investigation and prosecution.
In another development, NDLEA operatives at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja (NAIA), also seized nine cartons of khat, weighing 146.95 kgs at the cargo wing of the airport.
According to the operatives, the consignment was packaged as dried green tea and was shipped from Addis Ababa, onboard Ethiopian airline flight ET911.
After initial examination and suspicion, a clearing agent was asked to report with the consignee before the release but failed to do so. This led to a laboratory test on the consignment, which came out positive to khat.
Speaking on the development, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig-Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) hailed the synergy among various government agencies at the Onne port and charged them not to rest, as they work hard to keep Nigeria safe from illicit drugs.
He said, “The damage 100,000 bottles of codeine would have done to our youths if they had slipped through the port to our villages, towns and cities are unimaginable. 146.95 kgs of khat could have done the same damage if allowed to go into our streets.
“We’ll continue to motivate our officers and men so that they can give their best in the discharge of their responsibilities across the country and ultimately with the support of all our stakeholders and partners.”
By Victor Uzoho
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