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NDLEA seizes cannabis worth ₦‎2.66 billion in 8 months

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), TinCan Special Area Command, says it has seized 799.95kg of cannabis indica worth ₦‎2.66 billion between January and August.

The Area Commander Tincan, Mohammed Abubakar, in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday, said apart from the cannabis indica, imported from Canada and the United States, the command also seized 24kg of cocaine from a bulk cargo vessel, Cooper Island, within the period under review.

“The arrests and prosecution of many importers and their collaborators (agents) by NDLEA Tincan command is a testament that we operate in highly non-compliant environment,” he said.

Abubakar also reacted to the allegation that NDLEA extorts money from clearing agents and importers under the pretense that their containers are on watch list for drug import.

He described the allegation as completely baseless and without any merit.

“Our attention has been drawn to a publication by an online maritime newspaper of August 21, that one Odion Solomon, a clearing agent, alleged that NDLEA extorts money from the clearing agents and importers under the pretense that their containers are on watch list for drug import.

“Firstly, to clarify the purpose of watch listing containers, the process is a standard procedure implemented to ensure international trade compliance and security.

“It seeks to prevent illegal activities such as smuggling, money laundering, or trafficking, among others. It is a globally recognised practice that aims to protect the interests of countries and their citizens.

“To insinuate that our organisation will engage in extortion under the guise of watch listing containers is not only unfounded but also malicious. We pride ourselves on maintaining the highest ethical standards and strictly adhere to all legal and regulatory requirements.

“Our focus is solely on promoting transparency, facilitating legitimate trade, and maintaining the integrity of the supply chain,” he said.

He pointed out that the real impediments to the Federal Government ease of doing business at the port are the non-compliance, alongside with false declaration of cargo and concealments by the importers and traders, aided by agents.

“Importers and agents are expected to be honest and transparent in their activities which will make our jobs easier and straightforward, but their unfortunate tendency to conceal lead to the numerous seizures witnessed,” he said.

The NDLEA boss noted that the watch listing process was not undertaken independently by the organisation, but involve collaboration with government authorities, customs agencies, and relevant stakeholders, who are responsible for overseeing and implementing these measures.

He added that these checks and balances ensure that decisions made regarding container watch listing are based on actionable intelligence and objective risk assessments rather than personal interests.

“We strongly refute any claims of improper conduct or ulterior motives in the watch listing process. Such baseless accusations not only tarnish our reputation but also undermine the credibility of the entire international trade ecosystem.

“We remain committed to upholding the highest standards of professional integrity and will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action against those spreading false allegations.

“We urge anyone with legitimate concerns or suggestions for improvement to come forward with credible evidence through the appropriate channels.

“Constructive dialogue and cooperation are key to enhancing the integrity and effectiveness of our operations, and we welcome any opportunity to address concerns genuinely and transparently,” he said.

He emphasised that they take these false allegations seriously and would spare no effort in defending the organisation’s integrity and reputation.

“We trust that truth and fairness will prevail in the face of these baseless accusations, and our commitment to serving the Nigerian and global trade community will remain unshakeable, while maintaining the security integrity of our nation,” he said.

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