The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it intercepted an ambulance owned by the Medbury Medicals loaded with 10 cartons of 225mg of stolen tramadol tablets at the Apapa port.
The Hyundai Ambulance with registration number LND605XW was intercepted with the drugs worth about N2.8 million, while trying to smuggle it out of the ports in an emergency manner.
Two suspects, Michael Ajibade (driver) and Olatunde Emmanuel (escort), were said to have been intercepted by customs officers at 11p.m last Friday on their way out of the port in the ambulance, which was usually stationed at the port complex for medical emergencies and belonged to Medbury Medical Services, an industrial medical services provider.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Lagos, the Area Commander, Compt. Mohammed Abba-Kura, disclosed that the officers were on routine surveillance when they suspected the vehicle laden with the prohibited articles of trade, attributing it to the command’s 24-hour surveillance in and around the port.
According to him, “an investigation into the source of the stolen tramadol revealed that the drugs were pilfered from an undeclared container. Physical examination further revealed that 211 cartons of the drugs were missing from the container. The Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the stolen drugs stands at (approximately) N59.4 million.”
He disclosed that the container, allegedly shipped from India by Pacific International Limited (PIL) as general merchandise, was neither declared nor yet positioned for examination but on examination after the suspects’ interception and further revelation, its original seal was found to have been broken.
However, “preliminary investigations have commenced, with the command currently working hard to ascertain the level of involvement of others in order to get to the root of this unfortunate incident, before charging them to court.
On their own, the driver, Ajibade – an elderly man – denied knowledge of the content of the 10 cartons, stating that his yet-to-be-identified principal(s) promised him N2,000 to take the items across the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) gate, just as the dockworker, who escorted the articles, said he was promised N50,000.
Meanwhile, Abba-Kura revealed that the command generated N20.02 billion in the last 12 working days from July 1 to 15, having earlier declared a half-year generated revenue of N203 billion.