Customs: FOU Raid Of Alaba Market As Muhammed Blackmailers Fail In Their Plan

By Stephen Ubanna

 For years , officer and men of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS and Nigerian Food and Drug Administration , NAFDAC, knew that that there are lot of dirty deals going at the Alaba International Market but dread going there for fear of being attacked by the criminal elements in the area.

late Dora Akuyili, a former Chairman, NAFDAC, and later minister of Information,  did everything within her poers to stop the mess by  raiding the market severally to stop the fake drug manufactures, who litter the market but that was how far he could go. Her death opened the flood gate  for the  fake drug manufacturers and importers of prohibited drug to virtually take over   most of the   empty warehouses. market to stock their products. The situation is so bad as Tramadol and Codein , drugs which had been baned from being sold in the Nigerian market at the instance of the ministry of ministry of Health because of its adverse effect on the conomy.

Investigation by The Value news  shows that  either the drugs may have found their way into the market throgh the major  seaports in Lagos: Apapa, Tin can Island and port Multi-services terminal Limited, PTML or the Bonde terminals afliated to the ports.

Given that NAFDAC Officials  have  faifed in their duty to sanitise the market  to control the sale of such dangerous drugs in the Nigerian market may have  forced officers and men of the Operations and Lagos Roving team Headed by Riks Lura, an a Chief Superintendent of Customs to go back to the drawing to   keep a close watch on the market.

Acting on information  that there was a warehouse in the market stocked with prohibited Codein drug, Riks was said to have mobilised his men to lay an ambush on the warehouse  . the team were said to have observed what was going at the activities  and how Customers troop in and out. When it became obvious to  the Officers that was being sold  in the warehouse was Codeine, it emboldened them to Strike.

 The FOU, Zone A, senior  Customs  officer, may have known that raiding the Alaba market to fight the drug dealers was  an operation to be left to his patrol teams alone but chose to lead the team that went for  himselfto ensure that the  cartons of Codein drugs in the suspected warehouse were carted away to the Command premises. he was said to have kept the information close to his chest  but was communicating with the informant until the coast was clear to strike.  

It was learnt  a day to the raid to  the raid of the market, Riks had sent an advance patrol team on mulfti fully armed with  their Service pistol to take over the warehouse environment. It was gathered that about five days  ago, the Riks led tem , which had been known for making spectacular seizures  of tramadol, Codein and Donkey Skin, worth  billions of naira, swooped on the suspected warehouse at the Alaba market. 

Eyewitness account disclosed that when information filtered out that FOU,  Zone A, personnel, have taken over a suspected warehouse in the market  stocked with Codein drugs, other warehouse operators were said to have hastily  locked up for fear of being searched and disappeared from the horizon. A source told The Magazine that FOU team carted away about 350 cartons of Codein from the warehouse which were quickly transferred to the Command premises without any resistance from  the foot soldiers of the drug dealer handing around the vicinity. They may have known that any attempt to attack the Customs patrol team  would spell doom  as the officers were said to have been given standing order to defend themselves from any  such attacks.

 Penultimate  Wednesday, Mohammed Aliyu,  the Command Area Comptroller , had  taken Joseph Attah a Deputy Comptroller and the Service Spokes person and his  team from Abuja and two other  Television stations  Crew  and one on line Reporter, not The Value News to the location where the 347 cartons of Codein carted from the Alaba market  warehouse  were kept under tight security. The Customs Comptroller had  put the value of the  arrested Codein drugs  at about N146, 000.00. The successful raid of the  warehouse at the notorious Alaba market, where most of the  big warehouses are operated by the Chinese or  Lebanese  businessmen, should embolden  NAFDAC Enforcement , officials to raid the market  at will to fish out  the  dangerous  drug dealers.

Recall that Muhammed Abba-Kura, Comptroller, Apapa Command , confirmed at  a press briefing  on Tuesday, July 10, 2019, that  the Command  seized 29 Containers load of goods , noting some of the Containers  were found  to be carrying tramadol and other dangerous drugs suspected to be Codein . This may have given people a clue as to where the Codein  or tramodol found in Nigerian markets  were  pushed into the market: the saport.

Those who may have thinking that the drugs ,particular Codein  or tramodol sold at the Alaba market  may have been smuggled into the country  through the Seme-Krake, a Joint Border between Nigeria and Republic of Benin  to give Mohammed  Uba Gabar,  the Command Area Comptroller would be disappointed. This is because  the  no nonsense Cusoms Comptroller knows his onions   and has effectively blocked the  all the access routes from the land  including the Owode outstation, the Creeks and the watersides  to ensure that  no prohibited items enter the country.

 Tramadol smugglers who may have attempted to do so in the past would not forget their experience  in a hurry in an attempt to  smuggle   cartons of tramadol  from Republic of Benin  into the Nigerian market  through  Lagos , were lost to the government. The Customs Comptroller was said to have   handed  over the items to the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, but NAFDAC, officials protested .

Impounded ”50” Kg Bags Of Rice Parked At GWH, Seme

 Nurudeen Nowa, a physician, and Coordinator of the Agency at Seme, Confirmed that the  number of cartons of tramdol  handed over to the agency mistakenly  were complete , insisting that no carton was missing as alleged. The two agencies, according to sources , had expected  the Seme Command  officials to sesolve the matter but no luck.  The items are still in the custody of the NDLEA.

In spite of the  efforts  put in place in the last couple of months by  the Seme Customs Comptroller, to  stop smuggling activities    within his area of jurisdiction, investigation shows  that there  are  officers who  were said to have worked with him at FOU, Zone A, who had an axe to grand with him and thus  hell bent  in rubishing his records  in the anti-smuggling war against foreign rice smugglers   by taking damaging  pictures of trucks  load  of rice  from Seme   heading to the Internally Displaced People’s, IDP, Camp in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe which was said to be  at the  instance of Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and posting  it to the Customs  Headquarters   as  smuggled Consignment  through the Seme  land Border.  The Customs blackmailers may have done so to put the Seme Customs boss in the bad books of the Customs Comptroller General,  o facilitate his removal.

This may have  forced Augusttine   Chidi, a Deputy Comptroller General , DCG, Enforcement, Inspection and Investigations, E, I and  I,    to give  Yahaya Usman, a deputy Comptroller  and Coordinator, CGC, Strike Force, Lagos Command , the go ahead to track any of the trucks.

 Yahaya may have seen  it as an opportunity  to get back at his perceived enemy , who he had  not forgiven for taking away most of  the jobs meant for   his office   to another Unit,  thus rendering ineffective  at FOU, Zone A, his former Command.

 He may have  got it wrong. This is because he had not been  able to  make any seizure of any truckload of rice coming from the Seme Border  axisis to Lagos, an indication  that  those feeding  the Headquarters with such  damaging  information,  ” were liars”.

 The blackmailers, based on records available to The Magazine  may not have succeeded  in their plan  to dampen Muhammed’s  aggressive anti-smuggling  drive  as he  has continued to make seizures  of thousands of ”50” bags of foreign parboiled rice both on land,  Creeks and the  watersides, which are  currentlyparked at the Command Government Warehouse.

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