The Lagos State Police Command has intercepted a Seaco container with tons of suspected adulterated and contraband drugs at the Apapa area of the state .
The container which was shipped from Asia, had cartons of scrubbing brushes carefully packed to conceal the contraband and counterfeit drugs.
A police patrol team attached to Area B Command discovered the container inside Eleganza Plaza in Apapa while it was offloading the goods into another truck with neither clearance from the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) nor bill of landing of the container with number SEGU 6326800.
Suspecting that the container might have been stolen, the detectives on the instruction of the Area Commander, Olasoji Akinbayo, requested to see the NSC personnel escorting it to a BCT in order to know why it was diverted to the plaza
but there was none.
Consequently, the two trucks with registration numbers KTU216XG and SNK700XV were impounded and a search conducted on them only for the police to discover abortion pills, tramadol, cough syrup with codeine which are contraband drugs as well as suspected adulterated GSK and other brands of medications.
Among items discovered were 997 cartons of CSD with Codeine Cough Syrup for throat and chesty Coughs with batch number CSDD-1903; 54 cartons of Tramadol tablets; 58 cartons of 250mg GSK Ampiclox Syrup with batch number YK2J; I5 cartons of 20g GSK Cicatrin (3895); two cartons of GSK CAC1000 plus (TD7L) and a carton of 125mg of GSK Amoxil Syrup (SM4X).
Others include nine cartons of 50ml GSK Septran suspension with batch number 5M5W; 17 cartons of 10ml GSK Zentel suspension (3M9T); a carton of 156.25mg GSK Augmentin (SA38); one carton (less two bottle) of 250ml Vitaglobin Syrub Iron plus Vitamins (782); 16 cartons of 10ml Mb Chlor Chloramphenicol USP (181); 23 cartons of 50ml Maxolan Metoclopramide HCI Syrup (UB4N);
three cartons of Efrose Gynaecosid (P05) with NAFDAC registration number 04-4162; a carton of Stepsiril Comfort Original as well as 333 cartons of scrubbing brushes.
However, our Correspondent gathered that the NAFDAC number 04-4162 on Efrose Gynaecosid, a drug primary meant for the treatment of amenorrhea but illegally used as abortion pill might be fake.
A police source revealed that the counterfeit drugs were produced in Pakistan and a regular practice by dealers who flood Nigerian markets with lesser quality of branded medication to make profit.
It was learnt that these dealers operate in cohorts with terminal operators and NSC officers who usually assisted them to move their containers unnoticed. The police have arrested Uchenna Oreator who claimed to be the importer and Uche Nwankwo, said to have acted as clearing agent for the container.
According to Oreator: “I am the owner of the container. I imported the drugs from Pakistan. They were not declared because we only declared the brushes. I got them way cheaper than what the manufacturers in Nigeria are selling them. I am sorry, I know that what I did was bad. It was my first time doing it. I am sorry,” he said.
However, Commissioner of Police (CP) Hakeem Odumosu directed that the investigating team should establish from the NCS whether duty was paid to the Federal Government if it turns out the container was not on transfer to a bonded terminal as claimed and what percentage of duty was paid on the goods declared in the bill of landing?
He also requested that NCS provides the names and details officers that inspected/examined the container including witnesses, duly signed documented records taken in the course of inspection by all who participated and if the container was stolen/diverted, evidence that it was reported and the details of the person who reported.
Confirming the arrest and seizures, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Bala Elkana said the command was in touch with NAFDAC and NCS in order to get to the root of the matter, adding that officials of NAFDAC would be required to inspect the drugs to ascertain the quality.
“It is true that police operatives at Area B intercepted a container with suspected counterfeit and contraband drugs. The CP is not taking this issue lightly especially because of the dangers such items pose to health. We have written Customs and NAFDAC. We are working with them on this case. Updates will be given later,” he said.