Twelve Dockworkers are cooling their heels with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency,NDLEA over their involvement in the 9.5billion naira cocaine seized at the Lagos Port.
NDLEA Spokesperson ,Femi Babafemi said investigations showed that the dockworkers have significant links to the importation of the seized illicit cocaine weighing 32.9kilograms.
The anti-narcotic Agency had on October 13 intercepted a ship, MV Chayanee Naree at the Apapa seaport following intelligence from international partners and support from other security forces such as the Nigerian Navy, Customs, DSS and the police. A thorough search of the ship led to the recovery of 30 parcels containing cocaine, which weighed 32.9kg.
A Federal High Court in Lagos later granted an application by the Agency for the interim attachment of the vessel ,MV Chayanee Naree . Beside the attachment order, the court 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 NDLEA in a statement at the weekend said its clarification became necessary following claims by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria that some of its members are being detained unlawfully by the Agency. Of the total number of 18 dockworkers initially being interviewed by operatives, six of them with no sufficient evidence linking them to the crime had been released while 12 others with significant links are cooperating with ongoing investigation.
The Agency also revealed that In line with the intelligence available to it, it was discovered that syndicate of dockworkers, crew members with apparent international conspirators work in synergy to traffic 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.
Babafemi said the Agency’s actions in the detention of the dockworkers 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.