By Eguono Odjegba
THE seizure of a large quantity of Cannabis Sativa, otherwise locally known as Indian Hemp by operatives of the Western Marine Command, WMC, of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, may have been enmeshed in controversy following the escape of the smugglers, believed to have negotiated their escape at with some NCS officials.
This is coming on the heels of revelations that the four smugglers, all Ghanaians, were brought to the Coconut Olodi-Apapa head office of the command.
Vanguard Maritime Report gathered that the illicit commodity originated from Ghana, but was intercepted by the Bar Beach Patrol Team of the command within the fringe of Nigeria’s territorial waters, contrary to claims by the NCS that the seizure took place around Shashi waterside of the Badagry lagoon.
The commodity which was ferried in two big dugout boats, said to be of different sizes, were sailed to WMC headquarters in the early hours of the morning, after their arrest. The patrol team, upon sighting the suspected boats, was believed to have called for backup from the command headquarters. Thereafter, they were sailed to Olodi-Apapa, sandwiched between the armed patrol officers.
When Vanguard Maritime Report contacted the command public relations officer, Emmanuel Tangwa, for reaction, he denied any shoddy deal associated with the seizure. “Don’t believe any untrue story, the command was not involved in any compromise,” he said.