©AfreePress-(Lomé, March 23, 2021)-The case has caused a stir in the Togolese and Nigerien press. On March 2, 2021, Nigerien police intercepted in Niamey, seventeen (17) tons of cannabis resin, with a market value of 20 billion CFA francs from Lebanon and which transited through the Autonomous Port of Lomé (PAL) where they escaped the vigilance of Togo’s customs services.
Informed of the situation by their counterparts in Niger, the Togolese authorities initiated an emergency procedure to shed light on the case and establish the responsibilities.
« When the information on the seizure of cannabis resin in Niger in a warehouse where the packages were unloaded from a container that had passed through the Autonomous Port of Lomé (PAL), the Togolese authorities did not stand idly by, » explains the government.
Togo immediately connected the Central Office for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering (OCTRIBD) and the Niger counterpart unit OCTRIS, which allowed the country to trace the cargo route from Lebanon and to understand by what means the drug escaped the detection system set up at the Autonomous Port of Lomé.
« The container in question was embarked at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, on October 6, 2020. It made a transshipment stop at the port of Algeciras in Spain before being re-embarked for the PAL on October 28, 2020. It was disembarked at the PAL on November 2020, and was then loaded onto the truck used to transport it to Niger on November 25 and taken out of Togolese territory by the Cinkassé customs post, » the Togo authorities recalls.
According to the government, this container was removed from the port without being opened for inspection of its contents as it had the status of « delivery of goods to the warehouse at destination in Niger » and, above all that, there had been no special request to do so.
The cargo was treated like the others for reasons of speed in the removal procedures, because containers in transit are not systematically scanned if they are not requested to. This was obviously the case of this cargo, as reported to AfreePress by the Port leaders, which reassures that investigations are continuing in Togo. In fact, they have already led to the arrest of seven people in connection with this case. These are the manager of the company that handled the container file, the container forwarder, the owner and the driver of the truck that transported the container from Lomé to Niamey.
As a reminder, the drugs intercepted by the Nigerien authorities were kept in a warehouse while they were waiting to be loaded in a tanker or other vehicles transporting goods to Libya via the city of Agadez.