The haulage truck, which still has the name of Dutch haulage company Centrum Transport and a Dutch registration number, was stopped and confiscated earlier in December by detectives under the IGP X-Squad from the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Alagbon in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
For days, the vehicle was parked at Alagbon with the tyres deflated until the evening of January 8 when the tyres of the truck were pumped again. By the next morning, the truck had disappeared.
In that moment of trying to move the trailer to their warehouse, officers of the Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Police Force suddenly appeared at the scene and argument of which agency to take possession of the trailer ensued.
Eventually, police took control as the truck was moved to the police’s Area D Command in Mushin.
Upon joint inspection of the goods in the trailer, it was discovered that it had cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine and other illicit drugs.
This web of conspiracy and fraud is coming less than a year after the Federal Government had announced a ban on the production and importation of cough syrup containing codeine because of its addiction epidemic. The ban had actually followed a public outcry over the abuse of codeine in the country.
The suspects: Luke Mba, 38, and Falodun Gbenga, 40, were arraigned on January 3 with two-count charge of allegedly stealing pharmaceutical goods, rather the crime of importing illicit drugs into the country.
According to NAFDAC, the trailer was carrying Barcadin with codeine (cough syrup) – 588ctns x 200bottles x100ml.
Other drugs in the vehicle were: Feed Fine (Cyproheptadine caplet) – 44ctns x 24rolls x 10pks x 3blisters x10caplets, Really Extra (Diclofenac sodium tab) – 190ctns x 100boxes x 10pkts x 1x10caplets, and Afrodic (Diclofenac sodium cap) – 207ctns x 100boxes x 10pks x 1x10caplets.