By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
Drugs suspected to be Sativa Cannabis, popularly refered to as Marijuana valued at N1, 002,050,000 have been intercepted by operatives of the Western Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service.
Our correspondent reliably learnt that the drugs were uncovered during a maiden seagoing patrol on Lagos waters.
Controller of the command, Olugboyega Peters while confirming the seizure, said it is the largest single seizure of such drug on water in the history of the Nigeria Customs.
Peters hinted that his men relied on intelligence and carried out round the clock surveillance for a period of three days before swooping on the target area , where the seizure was made .
He said the suspected smugglers seen from afar with the drugs dived into water to escape upon sighting customs officers approaching to make the seizure.
The Controller added that the drugs were suspected to be coming from Ghana and has passed other countries by water before getting to Shashi area of Lagos where it was seized. He disclosed further that since no suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure, it will be liable to destruction in collaboration with relevant government agencies like National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NAFDAC) and the Nigeria Police.
On seizures made within the first four months of 2020, the command , according to him, achieved 39 seizures which is higher than 12 seizures made within same period of 2019. The command made seizures with a total duty paid value of N1,063,427,800 which is higher than DPV of N36,420,481.46 achieved within same period of last year.
A breakdown of the 2020 seizures made so far shows 1,816 bags of rice valued at N38,134,375; 733 cartons of poultry products worth N7,421,625; 104 bales of second hand clothing worth N4,393,400; 665 bales of textile materials worth N2,094,400 and 112 kegs of 25 litre petroleum products valued at N112,000.
Other seizures include 25 bales of second hand shoes and belts worth N8,019,000; 25 cartons of N8,019,000; 25 cartons of chewing gum worth N1,203,000 and the unprecedented seizure of cannabis
Comptroller Peters attributed the seizure recorded to the renewed spirit of work amongst officers and men of the command to achieve the Controller General of Customs strategic plan of zero tolerance to smuggling.
He also attributed it to high level of intelligence gathering and enhanced customs community relations in addition to close collaboration with other government agencies like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police and all others.