The National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has explained why more illicit drugs come into Nigeria from India more than from any other countries.
In an exclusive chat with our correspondent, the Commander the NDLEA Apapa, Samuel Bashir Gadzama disclosed that more than 90% of drugs consumed in Nigeria come from India, stating that India being a world pharmaceutical giant produces all kinds of drugs that have both medical benefits and those with addictive tendencies.
Gadzama also informed that illicit drugs come in from India mostly because the drugs in India are cheaper compared to drugs that come in from European country. He added that some of these drugs are regulated in India.
Shipping Position Daily, checks revealed that in the last four months, thousands of illicit drugs have been intercepted either by NDLEA and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
In January of this year, NDLEA intercepted a shipment of Tramadol with total weight of 3,078.56kg disguised with condoms and other illicit drugs at the Tin Can Island Port, they came from India.
Also in February, NDLEA also intercepted a container load of Tramadol at the Apapa port, it also arrested 90 persons including an Indian during raids of some drug cartels in some parts of Lagos, where a total of 614.396 kilograms of various hard drugs were seized.
Also at the Apapa port, 1,994,400 capsules tucked in 554 cartons were intercepted in the container, which was falsely declared to contain ceramic tiles.
In March, the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said it intercepted 554 cartons of tramadol and 989 cartons of unwholesome pharmaceutical products among other contraband at the Lagos port with duty Paid Value (DPV) of the drugs, pegged at N223.2 million.
The Controller Apapa Customs, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta said the drugs were traced from India to Port of Lome in Togo before they were finally shipped to Apapa Port, where they were intercepted.
Just recently also, the NCS and the NDLEA also intercepted 1,444 bottles of cough syrup with Codeine from Mumbai India.
The Customs Area Controller Apapa, Comptroller Malanta Yussuf had informed news men that the 722 cartons of codeine syrup containing 1,44 bottles declared as hot pot were tracked and intercepted due to intelligence gathering with the help of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
He said: “Yes we have many of these drugs coming from India, because India is a world Pharmaceutical giant, and you know over 90% of the drugs we consume in Nigeria comes from India, even the licit ones.
“They bring them in a lot because the drugs from India are cheaper than drugs from Europe, for example if you are buying Paracetamol from Switzerland they are more expensive compared to that of India, so in the process of bring in these licit drugs, a lot of illicit actions come into place, some of these pharmaceuticals are not banned, but should be controlled, Tramadol was not banned in Nigeria, until 2018 because it has very high addictive tendencies”.
When asked what the agency is doing regarding those who consume illicit drugs, he said: “We are seeing people who make money out of it as victims, while we really don’t place much emphasis on those who consume them, we treat them as victims or special people who need attention and rehabilitation” he said.