Lagos — SECURITY agents have intercepted 105.2 kilograms of Cocaine on board a vessel ‘M.V.’ Spar Scorpio while it was discharging its wheat content at the Joseph Dam Terminal.
Sources close to Directorate of State Security Services operating at the told our Correspondent that the illicit drug was discovered on Monday during inspection of the vessel by officials of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Nigeria Customs Service and others.
Confirming the development, Public Relations Officer of the Tin-Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Uche Ejieseme said that two bags of substances in the hopper that were used to discharge sugar from the vessel at the terminal.
According to Ejieseme, the bags have been handed over to the NDLEA who will get back to the Customs after their analysis.
He said: “During routine discharge of bulk sugar at about 1103hrs on Monday 8th February , 20121 at the Josephdam Terminal, the terminal operators noticed two bags of substances in the hopper that is used to discharge sugar from the vessel into waiting trucks in the terminal.
“The bags were recovered by the terminal security operatives who now invited the Port Security Officer, PSO, to the Port Manager to report the development without recourse to the Customs.
“However, we understand that the substances have been handed over to the NDLEA. In these circumstances, it is only the NDLEA that can give further details on this issue.”
While the Customs is claiming two bags, about 40 packages were discovered
Some port users who spoke said that there has been a spike in the interception of these illicit drugs in recent time, an indication that these drugs may have been passing through the port undetected.
Chris Orode, a former Director at the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, said that the upsurge in the interception of illicit drugs could be as a result that Nigeria is a familiar route for drugs.
Orode also said the porous nature of the nation’s port security is also a factor that may have lead to the increase of illicit drug passage through Nigeria’s ports.
He said:” If the ports are fully compliant to the International Ship and Port Facility Security, ISPS Code, it will reduce the chain of collusion.”