Nigeria- Bound Tramadol Intercepted At Autonomous Port Of Benin, Cotonou, Destroyed

 By Stephen Ubanna

 Nigerian –bound  Transit drugs meant for the Nigerian market imported  through the Autonomous port of Benin Republic, Cotonou,   were said to have been destroyed in Cotonu,  Wednesday, December 21, 2022..  This is because of the close working relationship between the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Seme Command and Beninois Customs Authorities appears to have facilitated the seizure of the drugs.

 The  seizure  and destruction of the tramadol drugs may have informed why  Seme Customs Command  and Benin Customs Authorities have beamed their searchlight on all transit cargoes , including Phamaceutical drugs meant for the Nigerian  market  to forestall  the export of drugs into the Nigerian market from Benin Republic.

  Note that that all Nigerian bound transit Contanerised cargoes are deposited at the Customs Boded Terminal at the Land border.  Operated by  God Is Wise Customs Limited,  a Seme  based Customs Agent,  Comptroller Mohammed Bello Jibo’s men  and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC, officials who   are said o be everywhere at the border Community were said to have stepped up   monitoring of activities at the land border  whenever there is work to do.

   The recent interception of millions of tons  Nigerian bound imported tramadol on transit from the Autonomous port of Benin, into the Nigerian market by Benin may have encouraged  comptroller Jibo , the Area Controller of Seme Customs Command and his NAFDAC  counterpart to work more closely together.  

 It is on record that last Wednesday, December 21, 2022, Comptroller Jibo led his men, including the NAFDAC officials at theSeme/Karake Land Border and of the the agency Director from the Headquarters had relocated to Cotonou, to witness the destruction of Tramdaol drugs intercepted by the Beniniois  Custmsoms Authorities, which  could have  entered into the Nigerian market through inappropriate routes.

prof. Adeyeye: Director General NAFDAC

 Many had expected the Benin Republic Customs Authorities to hand over the intercepted Container load of Container  containing  hundreds of  cartons of Tramadol of various ranges of milligrams to the Seme Customs Command at the Land border Community but failed to do so.  It was, therefore, bad news for the transit drug importers who had expected to take advantage of the Yultide to sell their imported prohibited drugs in the Nigerian market. Efforts to to speak to Seme Customs Area Controller or the NAFDAC Coordinator at the at the Seme Border Community , proved abortive.

Recall that in December 2021, the Benin Customs Authorities had handed over anintercepted Container load of Tramadol worth about N1.4 billion to the Seme Customs Command and which was subsequently handed over to NAFDAC for further Investigations and destruction.

An informed source disclosed that if the Benin Customs personnel has not intercepted the Nigerian bound Container load of Tramadol at the Autonomous port of Benin, Cotonou, it would have been very difficult for the transit drug importer, who may want  to engage the services of smugglers  to smuggle  it  into the country through their usual  inappropriate routes   by Land ,  Creeks or water sides around the Seme Jurisdictions.

 This is because of the tight security that has been mounted by the Border Community and its environs by the Command Enforcement Unit and the Operations Team, under the close watch of the Assistant Comtroller Abubakar Dankigari, described as a workaholic in security circles.

 AC. Dankigari’s men, according to a senior Police officer who spoke to The online Magazine  on conditions of anonymity disclosed that   Dankigari’s men are everywhere at the border Community   which had  made the Seme border route a no go area for the   VIP smugglers  drug smugglers , particular, tramadol and the Ghana grown  Indian Hemp.

 Indeed, the recent destruction of Nigerian bound  Tramadol drugs worth billions of naira in Cotonou, may have sent a signal to the transit drug   importers that it is no longer going to be business as usual   to use the Autonomou port of  Benin, Cotonou or Bollore port  to import Tramadol that would be sold  in the Nigerian market.

 This may have forced many of the transit cargo importers to relocate to Ogun state where there are over 140 illegal routes and other illegal routes in the Oyo and Osun axis that could be used, particular, in Shaki and Iseyin  axis,  to carry out their nefarious activities.

 But Acting Comptroller   Hussain Kehinde Ejibunu, of the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone II, may not be giving  them a breather. Those of them who were said to have tried to smuggle Tramadol into the country were said to have lost the Consignment to the Command.

  Onne area, the various Interventionist units in the south west geopolitical region may have failed to make appreciable impact for now was their inability to control smuggling into the Nigerian market of the Asian country of Thailand par boiled rice.

From the popular Bodija  market, in Ibadan, Capital of Oyo state, Oyo state, Sango Otta in Ogun  State  Mile II,  Alaba, in Lagos state, the staory is the same : Foreign rice are  stocked in the markets and warehouses around the markets.  

 Last two weeks, there was an incident at Egbeda, in Alimosho Local government Area of Lagos state, where  a trader who had succeeded in beating Customs personnel  to it along  the Abeokuta –Express Way to transpor bags of foreign rice 50Kg from the  Sango  Otta market to his shop  at Egbeda axis had it  seized. By FOU, Zone A, personnel on hat early morning.

. The trader was said to have discharged the bags of rice around the market and went in search of a w barrow boys to carry it to his shop. He was said to have also engaged the service of some people to watch over it for him. 

Luck ran out of him as the FOU, Zone A, anti-smuggling officers, who were said to be coming back from Patrol and who had sighted it drove to the scene. Without asking questions or waiting to see the owner, they were said to have loaded the bags of foreign rice into their vehicle and zoomed off.

 This is where, Assistant Comptroller Ishaku  Manga, overseeing the Command Operations and Lagos Roving may have to call his officers and read the riot Act to the Patrol Team Leaders  to sit up or be punished.

  Finacial analysts  beleives that if the Patrol Team Leaders and their officers at the Landd border Areas   are alive   to their duties, it would be very difficult  for smuggled  foreign rice from the Cotonou m and its environs to enter into the Nigeria market.

Analysts would want the FOU, Zone A Patrol Teams, Comptroller General of NCS and the Border Drills personnel to   concentrate their  activities  at the Land border Areas to effectively block all the illegal border routes thatare  dotted  everywhere in the  in five major states of the south west western region. They are Ogun,Lagos, Oyo Osun and Ekiti states  He may need to set an example with one of the Patrol Teams are said to be ineffective .  

 Agreed,that the FOU, Zone  Command makes  a reasonable  seizure of thousands of  bags of 50 Kg of foreign rice , on a monthly basis , but  what also  enters the  Lagos market and other markets in the region, according to a Beninois trader   who shuttles between Nigeria and Benin are equal when compared  on a daily basis. He has blamed it to the booking syndrome.   

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