By Chiazo Ogbolu
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 299 cartons of codeine syrup, with a pledge to continue to curb unrestricted access to the drug being abused by some youths.
The Acting Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Mr Adewale Adeniyi, announced the interception at a news conference in Lagos on Wednesday.
According to Adeniyi, codeine syrup is designated as a controlled drug due to its rampant abuse by delinquent youths.
“The misuse and illicit distribution of codeine-containing medications have given rise to grave security and public health concerns, contributing to a surge in addiction, adverse health effects and societal challenges.
“In response, regulatory measures have been implemented to curb its availability and unrestricted access.
“This underscores the importance of addressing this issue as part of broader efforts to safeguard public health and well-being.
“On our part, we will continue to partner with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and other relevant government agencies to curb the spread of the menace and protect the future generations of Nigerians,” he said.
He said that the Federal Operating Unit, Zone A, of the customs, acting on credible intelligence, flagged down a DAF truck near to Ijebu-Ode Junction on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
He added that examination of the truck revealed concealment of 299 cartons of codeine syrup.
He said that young people abused codeine syrup, warning that, in the long-term, the abuse could result in anxiety, depression, memory loss and damage to the liver, kidneys and brain.
“It is pertinent to note that the damaging effects of drugs have led to preventable deaths for consumers taking them outside doctors’ prescription,” he said.
Adeniyi added that smugglers of rice and premium motor spirit (petrol) had continued to sabotage the country.
According to him, in spite of the effects of fuel subsidy removal on Nigeria’s economy, some unpatriotic citizens still attempt to smuggle petrol but meet their waterloo in different operations conducted by customs officers.
He said that the officers intercepted 4, 252 bags of 50kg parboiled foreign rice at Dangote/Imashayi, Ogun State; Saki Axis of Oyo State, and Owode/Ado Odo in Ogun, among other points.
“Similarly, 5,600 litres of premium motor spirit were intercepted and seized when smugglers attempted to takeout these strategic resource through Oja-odan axis in Ogun State.
“Other items seized in the last two weeks include 291 bales of secondhand clothing, 57 sacks and four jumbo sacks of used shoes, 486 cartons of foreign frozen poultry products, 190 pieces of rugs, five units of vehicles, and 170 pieces of used tyres,” he said.
The CGC said that the seizures were a fallout of the customs uncompromising position to strictly enforce the law and protect lives.
“The 340 pieces of used tyres seized within the first two weeks of August 2023, by this unit, is not only limited to the implementation of import prohibition lists but also a giant stride to mitigate auto crashes caused by smuggled used tyres.
“These tyres are squeezed, compressed and tucked into themselves for ease of concealment which cause them to crack.
“They are oftentimes expired, their rigidity and strength compromised.
“Drivers can experience a blowout or sudden rupture as the steel wire meant to keep the tyres in shape has been disorganised in the course of smuggling,” he said.
The customs boss warned that any investment in smuggling would be a loss because customs would keep fighting smugglers.
“I urge all patriotic Nigerians to continuously support the Nigeria Customs Service with information that will aid our efforts to curb smuggling and arrest suspects,” he said. (NAN)