Attempts to export large consignments of illicit drugs especially cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine to Dubai, UAE and Europe through various disingenuous modes of concealment by desperate drug cartels via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos have again been frustrated by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, who intercepted them and arrested those behind the bids.
Top on the list of those so far arrested in connection with the seizures is a Nigerian based in Athens, Greece, Iwuozor Edward Chinedu. He was debarked from an Ethiopian airline flight on Friday 3rd February after officers in the tarmac team of NDLEA intercepted two bags during a secondary check exercise at the foot of the aircraft.
When the bags were searched in the presence of Chinedu and other airport stakeholders, two big pellets wrapped with foil papers and some sprinkles of pepper were recovered from each of the two sides of one of the bags. The pellets were used to construct false walls at the sides of the bag.
The two parcels contained substances that tested positive to cocaine and heroin with a gross weight of 1.30kgs and 900grams respectively. During preliminary interview, Chinedu claimed he came to Nigeria three months ago to do a surgery, which he was not comfortable doing in Athens. He further claimed he was given the bag to deliver in Greece for a fee of two million naira (N2,000,000).
Similarly, NDLEA operatives at the NAHCO export shed of the airport on Monday 30th January arrested a pregnant woman, Mrs. Sylvester Gloria Onome after 800grams of skunk were discovered concealed in two small radio sets she was sending to Dubai, United Arab Emirate.
On the same day, operatives also intercepted a consignment going to Congo Kinshasa, containing 111 bottles of body cream that were used to conceal 24.50kgs of ephedrine, a chemical precursor and active ingredient to produce methamphetamine. The cargo was later traced to a trader at Alaba trade fair complex, Ojo area of Lagos, Onyekachukwu Uduekwelu after the initial arrest of two freight agents.
Another housewife, Mrs. Okpara Chizoba Victoria was arrested at her residence at 37 Obashola street, Ijesha area of Lagos on Friday 27th Jan. following the seizure of 300grams of skunk hidden in a bag of crayfish she was sending to Dubai, UAE through a freight agent.
In the same vein, operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the airport on Thursday 26th Jan. intercepted a sack of new clothes going to Sierra Leone. During a thorough search of the consignment, a parcel of white crystalline substance that tested positive to methamphetamine with a gross weight of 1kg, as well as 300grams of skunk and 100grams ecstasy (MDMA) were recovered. A freight agent, Mfonabasi Victor Joseph was already arrested in connection with the seizure.
No fewer than 255,500 pills of tramadol and diazepam were recovered from an Italy based suspect, Duru Josephat who concealed the drugs in two of the bags he was travelling with to Milan, Italy on an Ethiopian airline flight. He confessed he bought the drugs in Onitsha, Anambra state and was taking them to Italy to sell.
Barely a month after operatives at the Tincan seaport intercepted a consignment of 24.5kgs of cannabis indica concealed in used vehicles imported from Canada, they have again seized 75.75kgs of the same substance, which came from Montreal, Canada, hidden in a container of four used vehicles with number MSCU 5336680. Coincidentally, the consignment has also been traced to a suspect already in custody in connection with the earlier seizure, Steve Adigwe and his accomplice, Cedrick Maduweke who is still on the run.
In Bauchi state, a suspect Clement Ekweozor, was nabbed at Rafin Zurfi area, Bauchi town with 28,088 pills of tramadol and other opioids, while 12,000 capsules of the same drug were among others recovered from four suspects when their commercial bus marked UGH 978 KS was intercepted at Koka junction, Asaba, Delta state by NDLEA operatives on Wednesday 1st January.
A 40-year-old secondary school teacher, Sani Isah was arrested by operatives at a house in Jekadefari area of Gombe on Thursday 2nd Jan. for dealing in new psychoactive substance,
Akuskura. 2,198 bottles of the substance concealed in six bags were recovered from him while he claimed to have started the illicit business since 2018.
In Ogun state, 190kgs of cannabis were recovered from a dealer, Emmanuel Ibrahim in
Lafenwa area of Abeokuta following credible intelligence, while three suspects: Mohd Sani Alasan, Yusif Musa and Musa Musa were arrested at Maidile area of Kano with 2,400 bottles of codeine-based syrup. Another dealer, Bako Ibrahim, 55, was also arrested on Saturday 4th February in Sharada area of Kano with 420 blocks of cannabis weighing 282kgs.
Another dealer of the same substance, Akeem Azeez, 39, was nabbed with 612kgs recovered from him in Akure, Ondo state. Following a follow up operation in Minna, Niger state, operatives of the Kogi state command of the Agency now have in their custody a suspect, Michael Ikechukwu Ofili, 30, over the interception of his consignment containing 106,800 pills of tramadol sent to him from Onitsha, Anambra state, along Okene-Lokoja highway.
While appreciating the efforts and commitment of the officers, men and women of the MMIA, Tincan, Bauchi, Delta, Gombe, Ogun, Kano, Ondo and Kogi state commands of the Agency towards ridding Nigeria of the menace of illicit drugs, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) urged them and their compatriots across the country not to relent.
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja
Sunday 5th February 2023