The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has intercepted and seized no fewer than 100,000 bottles of codeine syrup with a total weight of 15,325 kgs at the Onne seaport, Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi disclosed this in a statement made available to the newsmen on Saturday, in Abuja.
Mr Babafemi said that the 100mg illicit cough syrup with codeine packed in 500 cartons and concealed in a container marked MRKU 1565305, bearing made in India imported face masks, was discovered on Thursday, 10th June.
The syrup was found in a warehouse at the Onne port complex during a joint examination by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, State Security Service and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, among others, he added.
He said that the seizure followed intelligence received by the NDLEA, as a result of which the container was detained and moved to the Customs’ government warehouse within the port complex.
The NDLEA spokesman added that no importer or agent had, however, come forward to claim the container, but that efforts were ongoing to track the owner for further investigation and prosecution.
In a related development, NDLEA operatives at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, NAIA, have seized nine cartons of khat, weighing 146.95 kgs at the cargo wing of the airport.
Mr Babafemi said that the consignment, packaged as dried green tea, was shipped from Addis Ababa, on board an Ethiopian airline flight ET911.
“After initial examination, suspicion was raised when a clearing agent was asked to report with the consignee before release, but failed to do so, for fear of arrest.
“And this development led to a laboratory test on the consignment, which tested positive to khat and the eventual seizure.
Mr Babafemi quoted the Chairman, NDLEA, Buba Marwa as hailing the synergy between various government agencies at the Onne port.
He charged them not to rest on their oars as they continued working hard daily, to keep Nigeria safe.
In particular, he commended the Commander, officers and men of the Port Command in the Rivers capital, and their Abuja airport Command counterparts, for their vigilance and commitment to the task of ridding Nigeria of illicit drugs.
“The damage 100,000 bottles of codeine could have done to our youths, if they had slipped through the port to our villages, towns and cities, is unimaginable. 146.95 kgs of khat could have done the same damage if allowed to go unto 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.
“We will ultimately, with the support of all our stakeholders and partners, win the battle against illicit drug trafficking and abuse”, he said.