Attempts by elements of Organised Criminal Groups to use various disingenuous modes of concealment to import consignments of illicit substances into Nigeria and export same to the United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirate through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja and Tincan seaport in Lagos have been thwarted by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.
No less than 37.5 kilograms of such illicit consignments were intercepted in the past week, with the arrest of 11 suspects in interdiction operations that led to the seizure of almost four tons of skunk in Kaduna, Kano and Lagos state.
At the Lagos airport, a freight agent Ogunsina Damilare was arrested on Friday 6th January following a bid to export 1.5 kilograms of skunk hidden in foodstuffs to Dubai, UAE through the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA, while a similar attempt to ship 11.5kgs of the same substance to the United Kingdom was frustrated when the consignment concealed in a giant wooden sculpture was intercepted by NDLEA operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations (DOGI) at a courier company in Lagos.
Curiously, the latter emanated from Ghana with London as destination.
At the Tincan port in Lagos, a shipment of 24.5kilograms cannabis indica to Nigeria from Montreal, Canada was intercepted by operatives while an N8million bribe offered NDLEA officers by the importer has been secured in an account for the prosecution of the case.
While the importer, Cedrick Maduweke is still at large, one of his accomplices, Steve Isioma Adigwe has been arrested. The consignment was hidden in a used Toyota Sienna vehicle that arrived the port along with three other cars in a container marked MSMU 5082733.
A total of 3, 672 kilograms of cannabis sativa were recovered from two locations and five suspects arrested in Kaduna during separate raid operations.
Arrested at a warehouse at Rido village on Wednesday 3rd January include: Edward Emmanuel, 28; and Miracle Madu, with 298 bags of C/S weighing 3,576kgs. Investigations revealed that the consignment was moved from a southern state to Kaduna in a petroleum product bearing truck.
Also, two other suspects: Sunday Bassey, 29 and Jessica Daniel, 14, were nabbed with 96kgs of same substance at Gonin Gora area of the state, while Sanusi Isah, 30, was arrested on Saturday 7th January at Giwa area with over 12,000 tablets of Tramadol 225mg and Diazepam.
In Kano, NDLEA operatives on Saturday 7th Jan. intercepted Kabiru Abdulhamid, 40, with 119 blocks of C/S weighing 73kgs at Semugu area, while a total of 28,400 tablets of tramadol and over 230kgs of cannabis were seized in raid operations in Festac town and Lagos Island areas of Lagos state.
Some of the suspects arrested in the Lagos raids include: Rukayyat Eshinlokun; Pelumi Alejo and Banna Maina who specializes in distribution of illicit drugs disguised as a dispatch rider.
Meanwhile, in Imo state, a suspect, Amechi Moses was arrested in a follow up operation on Friday 6th January following the interception of 29, 800 tablets of Tramadol 225mg in a commercial bus along Owerri – Onitsha road going to Aba in Abia state.
Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the officers and men of Tincan, MMIA, DOGI, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and Imo Commands for the arrests and seizures.
He charged them and their compatriots across the country to intensify the heat on drug cartels in Nigeria while balancing their efforts on supply reduction with drug demand reduction activities.