*Police getting calls from ‘above’ to release goods, suspects
By Evelyn Usman
The Police in Lagos have smashed a syndicate which specialised in importing fake and banned drugs from Pakistan to Nigeria, and cleared at the ports as scrubbing brushes. Two suspects have been arrested.
In the container of ‘brushes’ were fake and contraband medicines, including antibiotics, cough syrup, abortion pills, among others, with most of them carrying the name of a popular pharmarceutical company.
Vanguard gathered that policemen attached to Area ‘B’ Command, Apapa, saw some persons offloading goods from a container into a truck inside a plaza at Apapa.
Suspecting something was amiss, the policemen demanded the bill of lading of the container with number SEGU 6326800 and Customs officers that ought to have escorted it to a bonded terminal. But the men at work could provide any.
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The Area Commander, ACP Olasoji Akinbayo, was said to have instructed his men to impound the trucks with numbers plates KTU216XG and SNK700XV
The fake drugs
Searched, 997 cartons of CSD with codeine cough syrup with batch number CSDD-1903; 54 cartons of tramadol tablets; 58 cartons of 250mg ampiclox syrup with batch number YK2J; I5 cartons of 20g cicatrin (3895); two cartons of CAC1000 plus (TD7L) and a carton of 125mg of amoxil syrup (SM4X) were discovered.
Also discovered were 17 cartons of 10ml Zentel suspension (3M9T); nine cartons of 50ml Septran suspension with batch number 5M5W; a carton of 156.25mg augmentin (SA38); one carton (less two bottle) of 250ml Vitaglobin Syrub Iron plus Vitamins (782); 16 cartons of 10ml Mb Chlor Chloramphenicol USP (181); 23 cartons of 50ml Maxolan Metoclopramide HCI Syrup (UB4N); three cartons of Efrose Gynaecosid (P05) with NAFDAC registration number 04-4162; a carton of Stepsiril Comfort Original as well as 333 cartons of scrubbing brushes.
Vanguard reliably gathered that since the discovery fake drugs and subsequent arrest of the importer, Uchenna Oreator, and the clearing agent, Uche Nwankwo, several calls from high-ranking security and paramilitary personnel have been made to prevail on the Area Commander to release the suspects and goods.
During interrogation, Oreator admitted ownership of the recovered goods, adding that he bought them at cheaper rates from Pakistan. He further revealed that he declared the goods as brushes.
According to him, “I got them cheaper than what the manufacturers in Nigeria are selling them. I am sorry. I know that what I did was bad. It was my first time doing it.”
Police under pressure to release goods, suspects
The Police, as gathered, had begun an investigation to ascertain how the goods were moved to a bonded terminal from the APMT Terminal, Apapa, and why there was no Customs officer to escort the container to the bonded terminal.
Vanguard gathered that the Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, also ordered his men to investigate if duty was paid to the government and also to ascertain whether the container was diverted.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Bala Elkana, who confirmed the arrest of the suspects and recovery of the fake drugs, said: “We have written Customs and NAFDAC.
“We are working with them on this case. Updates will be given later, as the investigation is still ongoing.”