The 12 dockworkers where arrested at the Apapa Seaport in Lagos by The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for their link to the importation of 32.9 kilograms of cocaine worth over N9.5 billion in street value.
Femi Babafemi the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja said this in a statement on Saturday.
He said a Federal High Court in Lagos had granted an application by the Agency for the interim attachment of a vessel, MV Chayanee Naree, which was used to import the 32.9 kilograms of cocaine into the country through the Apapa Seaport.
He said apart from the attachment order, the court have also granted NDLEA’s request to detain the Master of the ship, Mr. Tanahan Krilerk and 21 foreign crew members as well as the dockworkers arrested in connection to the case.
“The Agency had on October 13 intercepted the ship at the Apapa seaport following intelligence gathered from international partners and support from other security forces such as the Nigerian Navy, Customs, DSS and the Nigerian police. 30 parcels containing cocaine, which weighed 32.9kg where recovered thorough search of the ship.
“The application in suit no: FHC/L/CS/1518/2021, which was filed by the agency’s Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Joseph Nbone Sunday on Thursday 28th October was granted the following day Friday 29th October by Hon. Justice A.O. Awogboro. An application to renew the remand order was also filed on Friday 12th November because of the volume of evidence coming out from the cooperation of the suspects in custody,” said Babafemi.
According to NDLE, the clarification became necessary following claims by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria that some of its members are being detained unlawfully by the Agency.
“ 18 dockworkers are initially being interviewed by operatives,of which six have no sufficient evidence linking them to the crime and had been released while 12 others with significant links are cooperating with ongoing investigation. base on intelligence available to the Agency, there is a syndicate of dockworkers, crew members with apparent international conspirators who work in synergy to traffic in the illicit substances. While the substances are concealed in the shipment from the originating Port, the dockworkers assist to pick up the illicit consignment for onward delivery to the Nigerian drug barons.
“ it is lawful and expedient to investigate those within the purview of the Agency’s reasonable suspicion and those who do not have any serious involvement are let go in the case of a criminal investigation of this magnitude, Already, two dockworkers are now on the run, after absconding from their place of work, since the beginning of the investigation.
“All the Agency’s actions are guided by international best practices and in line with the Global Maritime Standard Operational Procedure on arrest, seizure and detention of Vessels and crew members,” the statement reads.
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