Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday, ordered the destruction of 14 containers loaded with prescription drug, Tramadol, confiscated at Apapa Wharf, Lagos, by the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS).
The court gave the order while granting an exparte application filed before the court for the order of condemnation of the said drug by the NCS’s lawyer, Mr. Ogunlowo Bisi.
In urging the court for the order, the Customs’ lawyer said the order sought from the court was brought pursuant to order 26, rule 8(1) of the Federal High Court (civil procedure) rules 2009 and provision of sections 167 and 169(1) and schedule 3 of the Nigeria Customs Services Management Act Cap. C.45 OF the Laws of the federation OF Nigeria; 2004.
NCS has asked the court for an order authorizing it to destroy the content of all 14 containers as listed in the schedules marked “A” annexed to the Affidavit in Support of the Motion be condemned as forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
An order authorizing the it o destroy the Content of all the 14 Containers.
Upon listened to the submission of the Customs’ lawyer Justice Saidu said: “I have listened to the submission of the counsel as well as gone through the affidavit in support of the application and the written address and the attached exhibits.
“The application is hereby granted as prayed”.
NCS in an affidavit support of the exparte application deposed to by Dabaj U. H, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs (AC) and an Officer in Legal Section Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Services, Apapa, Lagos, stated that in the course of effecting the assigned role and carrying out their official duties Customs personnel particularly between February 20th, 2018 and 28th September 2018, intercepted and apprehended from smugglers all the goods itemized and specimen in the schedule hereto annexed to this affidavit for various Customs offences and contravention of the provision of the Customs & Exercise Management Act (CEMA) while perpetrating such unlawful acts.
The deponent stated that the owners/ consignee/importer and or agent, servant or privies and their collaborators thereof at all times maternal to the seizure of the goods.
Attached and l or commuted acts of fraudulent evasion of Customs duty, concealment or goods and / or outright act of smuggling of goods into Nigeria as a result of which they were accosted but escaped, thereby abandoning the goods for fear of being arrested and prosecuted by the Customs Authority.
He Also stated that apart from acts of smuggling, fraudulent evasion of duty, some of the defaulter brought in outright unlawful and prohibited items, which are so classified by the Customs Law and provisions. And that Ogunlowo, S. B. of Counsel informed him that because of the severity of the penalty and sanction attached to the offence, the smugglers and the defaulter along with their collaborators, have refused and/or failed to come forward to clam the good s most of which are Tramadol, from the Nigeria Customs Services thereby abandoning same to date.
He also stated that from the dates of seizure of the said drug, nobody has come forward to claim ownership and that an order of this honourable Court is required to empower the Nigeria Customs Service Board to destroy and dispose of the Tramadol contained in all the containers.
The deponent also stated that according to the information given to him by Ogunlowo E. B. of counsel informed and verily believed that searches has been conducted in the Court Registry and that there is no evidence of any actions pending against his employer in respect of the items hereby sought to be condemned as fortified to the applicant.
Adding that it would be in the interest of justice if the application is granted as refusal to so grant will certainly aggravate the deterioration of the said Tramadol and thereby constituting serious health problems and environmental hazards to the people at the Ports and ultimately to the detriment of the Federal Government of Nigeria.