Port Pilfering: Customs slam APM Terminal for Tramadol Theft

Sandra Ukele

Management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Area Command today accused operator of the APM Terminals of joining undesirable elements and economic saboteurs to pilfer goods from the port and undermining efforts by the Federal Government to stem the tide of harmful and dangerous drugs that has been classified as abused pharmaceuticals.

This is coming on the heels of an alleged stealing of quantities of Tramadol from an undeclared container said to be in the custody of APM Terminal. The goods were allegedly pilfered by APMT staff members, two of which so far have been caught.

The suspects were said to have broken the seal of the said container and removed cartons of Tramadol which they attempted to take outside the port in the company’s official ambulance with registration number LND605XW, before being caught at the exit point.

But APM Terminal has denied complicity in the matter, expressing disappointment with the management of the Customs Command for pandering to political orchestration.

A source close to the company’s media consultant, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, told our correspondent that the resort to link APMT to the issue is politically motivated, describing it as cheap blackmail and thus, very disappointing.

The source who declined to have his name mentioned said “It is okay if the Command called a press briefing but it is disappointing to attempt to link APMT to petty stealing done by staff members at the port. To me this is a political orchestration and it is also a disservice to the nation.

“In this country where vehicles of commodity-distribution of corporate giants are used for smuggling, how many times have the Customs Service accused those companies of complicity? This is very sad.

Of course it is also sad that APMT staff members have been fingered in this unfortunate incident, but that is no reason for Apapa Customs to resort to this level of cheap blackmail”, he said.

The area command controller, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura speaking with newsmen at Apapa put the value of the stolen products at N2.8million, and said the service will carry out a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the theft to determine other staff members involved in the racket and for how long it has been practiced.

Comptroller Abba-Kura gave the names of the two suspects arrested as Messrs. Michael Ajibade and Olatunde Emmanuel respectively.

He said, “It is regrettable to state here that while the Nigeria Customs Service is working round the clock to free this country of illicit goods, some recalcitrant and unpatriotic citizens are not relenting in their desperate urge to sabotage our efforts.

“Ordinarily, nobody would suspect that such act can be committed by supposed stakeholder’s that ought to be collaborating with the service to rid the nation of these harmful drugs”, Abba-Kura added.

The Comptroller also reiterated the resolve of the Command to enforce fiscal policies of the government while facilitating legitimate trade within the lowest possible time.


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