The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Friday intercepted a shipment of 3,078.56kgs of Tramadol disguised as condoms at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.
The tramadol, a prescription drug belonging to the class of opioid, which was said to have been unlawfully imported, were allegedly brought in by two pharmacists identified as Onuchukwu Owulu, 38, of Benow Pharmaceutical Impex Limited, Lagos and Igboanugo Tochukwu, 35, of Vingil Pharmaceuticals Limited, Asaba.
According to the spokesperson for the agency, Mitchell Ofoyeju, the drugs were detected during physical examination at the port by NDLEA officials.
Ofoyeju, who said abuse of Tramadol has been reported among youths across the country, stated that the drugs were imported without permits by the relevant authorities, an infraction of Section 11 (a) of the NDLEA Act.
“It was also gathered that the drugs were imported for illicit distribution as they were disguised as cartons of condoms and other licit pharmaceutical products.
“The discovery of the drug was made during examination of the container prior to delivery at their preferred destination outside the port. In addition, the companies could not produce either import or clearance permit for the said drugs,” said Ofoyeju.
Quoting the Director, Operations and General Investigation, NDLEA, Olugbenga Mabo, Ofoyeju said the prosecution of the suspects will address the lack of repect for due process by professionals.
“We have observed an infringement of the law with adverse consequences on the nation. The drugs were imported without permit by the relevant authorities. Prosecuting the suspects will serve as a warning to others. The case has been assigned to the Joint Task Force of the Agency for investigation,” quoted Ofoyeju.
The agency’s Commander at the port, Nse Inam: “The shipment of controlled drugs originated from India. Onuchukwu Benjamin Owulu imported 107 cartons of Tramanow, a brand of Tramadol weighing 1,078.56kgs, while Igboanugo Vincent Tochukwu imported 250 cartons of Vingil Tramadol weighing 2,000kgs. Both suspects are being investigated.”
In his statement, Owolu said he couldn’t get import permit as a result of the strike action embarked on by employees of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“I registered Benow Pharmaceuticals Impex Limited in 2009 and started business in 2010 as a qualified pharmacist. I began the process of importing this consignment in September 2015 and the goods arrived on December, 13.
“My agent informed me of the challenge to obtain permit to import and clear the Tramanow. The strike action by staff of NAFDAC made it difficult for me to secure the necessary permit. I witnessed the search of the container in the presence of NDLEA officers and other security agencies at the port,” he stated.
Igboanugo, according to NDLEA, also admitted he did not get the necessary permit before