Nigerian customs seize illegal tramadol shipment at port

2018-02-13 17:24
Flag and map of Nigeria. (iStock)

Flag and map of Nigeria. (iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - Customs officials in Nigeria on Tuesday said they had seized banned drugs, including the powerful pain killer tramadol popular with jihadists such as Boko Haram.

Nigeria Customs Service spokesperson Joseph Attah said it was discovered in four containers of controlled and prohibited pharmaceuticals that arrived in Lagos from India.

The head of customs at the seaport, Jubrin Musa, said the drugs were not certified by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control as they exceeded required limits.

"Tramadol is not under trade prohibition but it is controlled and regulated," he told AFP.

"Where you import milligrammes over and above the control limit, that is where the law is infringed upon."

Boko Haram fighters are known to have used tramadol during their nearly nine-year quest to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.

In December last year, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime also issued a warning about the non-medical use of the synthetic opioid across West Africa and its use by jihadists.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

It said the rise in consumption and trafficking of the drug was "serious, worrying and needs to be addressed as soon as possible".

Yearly seizures of tramadol in sub-Saharan Africa have risen from 300kg to more than three tonnes since 2013, according to the UNODC's World Drug Report 2017.

The report said the drug was mainly manufactured in South Asia and smuggled through the Gulf of Guinea by international criminal gangs into areas where Islamist extremists operate.

In September last year, more than three million tablets were discovered in Nigeria in boxes marked with the UN logo packed on a truck driving from Nigeria to northern Mali, it added.

Nigeria is currently battling a number of security challenges, including Boko Haram's insurgency.

Jubrin said the drug "could have further aggravated the already tense situation in the country" had it found its way into wider circulation.

One suspect has been arrested over the imports, he added.

Read more on:    un  |  nigeria  |  west africa

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.