How can Government stem the tide of importation of illicit drugs into the country?

Captain Taiwo Akinpelumi (NISA)

When the government does not have the opportunity to check some vessels why won’t all manners of things come into the country? From arms to hard drugs, that is why we are saying that any vessels that is coming into the country, customs and other security agencies should be allowed to go through the vessels to see if it is carrying any contraband. That is the major way to checkmate the influx of illegal substances into the country.  Muda Yusuf (LCCI) 

First of all, there has to be sanctions that are very severe, some of these things still happen because there are no sanctions. How many of the people involved in these have you seen go to jail compared to what you see on the television?  So, something is wrong with our sanction system, criminal justice system which makes it easier for criminals to escape justice. If you catch somebody today and within the next few months it would be announced that the person has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, people will sit up, they will go and look for genuine businesses to do. So, we need to severe our punishment for all these things so that it will send signals to everybody. We also need to ensure that those at the borders are up and doing. We also need to use technology at our ports and border stations; it is not easy to do physical examination for everything. If you have a very good scanner it will run the cargo through and if there is anything it would pick it up immediately.  Dr Boniface Aniebonam (NAGAFF)

There are no other strategies other than having a proper customs examination. I keep telling anybody who cares to listen that the essence of the agencies of the government in the ports is to protect the interest of the government and the general public. A business man does not know anything other than to maximize profit. Government knows that they are going to cheat and that is why the agencies of the government are deployed. So, it is their duty to do the needful which include, but not limited to proper customs examination and then, abstain from colluding with those who come to do business to cheat the government. We can’t get a good society if we can’t respect the laws. The laws are already there, it is for us to implement them but when we don’t we will get this type of society that we are getting. Eugene Nweke (Ex- President, NAGAFF) 

You must understand that, Tramadol like any other outlawed trade thrives under a fraudulent commercial practice, known as "acts of concealment and connivance". This implies that, to stem such ugly trends, there must be intelligence sharing amongst the agencies at port of origin and destinations. In this case, the exchange of information between the Interpol and Customs is key to this drive. 

Nigeria Customs Service is noted to have undertaken some security partnership agreements, but the scope of implementation is another issues to focus at.

If the increasing spate of this ugly trade trends, we must review and enforce relevant laws governing the shipments and carriage of cargo through our international frontiers. Craft owners should show due diligent to true declaration of cargo by its agents before loading on board and declaring same into the manifest. 

However, the most effective solution to urgently stem this ugly trade trends and misapplication is for the government to encourage the Nigerian Shippers Council to fully implement the Cargo Tracking Note. Tokunbo Nojeem Korodo (Chairman, NUPENG South West) 

If you look at our border posts in this country, they are very porous, this is why the borders and our Nigeria Customs Service need to be strengthened, their officers need to be encouraged and disciplined against corruption, this is one way you can achieve sanity at the various points of entry where the drugs are imported. Dr. Basil Nwolisa (Freight Forwarder)

The influx of illicit drugs in Nigeria is fueled by the lack of commitment of government agencies saddled with the responsibility of checking the menace  and the  Nigeria Customs Service's inability to safeguard the entry points, if these can be tackled and addressed, we would see a drastic reduction in the importation of illicit drugs into this country. Olorogun Andrew Ugwi (Licensed Customs Agents) 

There is a saying that 'nobody will steal to sell, if there are no buyers’. One major issue that has fuelled drug import is that of corruption, Nigeria is too corrupt, from the President to the labourers, administration, financial operations, security ,admission ,importation, everything that has to do with human being in this country is corrupt. Also, it is the corrupt environment that has made Nigeria a dumping ground, false documents, declarations and our common attitude of glorifying quick and questionable wealth acquisition, granting awards and appointment to such manner of individuals rather than punishment. The story can continue, but one way government can stem the tide is to first deal honestly with the issue of corruption and those truly identified and arrested. Joel Nwosu (DG ANLCA Headquarters)

Government should ensure that strong international collaborative arrangements are in place with these exporting nations to ensure that these illicit and psychotropic substances are not exported in the first place. Again, strong surveillance mechanism should be put in place to ensure that even when the drugs are exported, they are quickly intercepted. These two measures if implemented holistically will help reduce to the barest minimum the importation of illicit drugs into the country. Experience in the past has shown that intense intelligence sharing between nations has led to the interception of large quantities of arms at the ports. 

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