By Roland Ekama
Alarmed by the rising importation of tramadol, one of drugs being abused by addicts, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has appealed to freight forwarders and customs brokers to desist from rendering services to shippers who import the product due to its gross abuse by Nigeria’s younger generation.
The Customs boss made the appeal at the swearing in ceremony of the newly elected executives of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in Lagos, weekend. He was represented by Aminu Dahiru, an assistant comptroller general of Customs in charge of Zone A.
Tramadol which is defined as a synthetic opioid analgesic (painkiller) is frequently prescribed to manage moderate to severe levels of pain—such as that experienced after surgery or in chronic conditions like arthritis. It is commonly marketed under one of its brand names, Ultram.
People who experience more chronic types of pain may be prescribed an extended-release version of tramadol, which allows them to experience longer lasting pain relief without needing to take the medication as frequently.
Ali called on the freight agents to distance themselves from importers who engage in tramadol importation, saying it has become a substance of abuse Nigerian youths.
"I appeal to your leadership over one area bothering me and others. See what you can do to stop your members from giving services to people who bring things that destroy our society. At the moment, that is tramadol.
"Our young people are so much into it, some undergraduates take it and they drop out of school as a result of the effect on them," Ali said.
Earlier, he had enjoined the incoming executives to use their office to improve in areas where agents had problems with customs operations.
On his part, newly sworn in president of ANLCA, Mr. Tony Nwabunike in his remarks, assured that the association will work assiduously to improve on the professional competence of its members.
Nwabunike stated that the association will partner with the Nigerian Shippers Council and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) in tackling a alleged illegal charges by shipping companies and terminal operators.