About 58 containers of tramadol and other prohibited drugs valued at N14.7bn were on Wednesday destroyed in Sagamu, Ogun State.
The destruction was carried out by a committee made up of representatives of the Nigeria Customs Service, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency and others.
The Comptroller General of the NCS, Col Hameed Ali (retd), said the seized drugs were intercepted at various Customs formations across the country.
He spoke through the Zonal Coordinator of Zone A, Kathleen Ekekezie, during the burning of the drugs.
He said, “The menace of such drugs in our society cannot be underestimated. Having caused huge negative impact both on the economy and human lives, it is imperative that it must be swiftly curtailed.
“I call on all and sundry to assist our officers and other relevant agencies by providing real time information at all times to help fish out the perpetrators of this negative act of smuggling dangerous drugs.”
The Assistant Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Enforcement and Drugs, Aminu Dahiru, said the idea of forming a team came from Ali who had stressed the need for synergy between government agencies aiding Customs in the fight against importation of dangerous drugs.
Dahiru, who is the Chairman, Joint Committee on Destruction of Seized Tramadol and other Pharmaceutical Products, said the seizure was in line with the Federal Government’s vision to rid Nigeria of dangerous drugs.
He added that the seizure had helped in stemming the spate of kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism and other social vices.
He said over 50 per cent of drugs seized in the country were confiscated in the South-West.
According to Dahiru, the destruction will continue in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Bauchi in the next two weeks.
“The seizure is not without risks; a senior customs officer was trailed by smugglers and warned to desist from destroying their business or face the consequences,” he said.
The Director General, NAFDAC, prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who was represented by the Director, Registration and Regulatory Affairs Directorate, Monica Eimunjeze, noted that the abuse of drugs was a serious issue in Nigeria and had far-reaching implications on health.
She said, “This committee has a specific duty, the destruction of tramadol.
50mg to 100mg of tramadol is the approved requirement for importation; importation of any dosage higher than that is prohibited.
“However, you see people importing 225mg like the one we are destroying today. At a very high dosage, when abused, the drug impacts on society in a very dangerous way.”
The Ogun State Governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun, who was represented by the Director (Pharmaceuticals), Ministry of Health, Olufemi Afilolu, said the seizure of the drugs was in the best interest of the country.
He said the prohibited drugs were damaging to the youth population, adding that Ogun State had zero tolerance for drug abuse.
He urged more collaboration between government agencies, security agencies and stakeholders, saying, “You don’t know whose child could get involved in drugs.”