In a significant operation, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have successfully thwarted fresh attempts by transnational drug trafficking cartels to export illicit drugs, including methamphetamine and skunk, through various means, including airports and courier companies. The crackdown has taken place across different states in Nigeria in the past week.
At the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Ikeja, Lagos, NDLEA operatives intercepted an intending passenger bound for Oman, identified as Ugwu Peter Tochukwu, on Tuesday, September 12th. During a thorough search of his luggage, authorities discovered 7.50 kilograms of skunk cleverly concealed within crayfish mixed with dry bitter leaf.
Simultaneously, NDLEA officers from the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations (DOGI), working with courier companies, intercepted two separate drug consignments. One, headed for Dubai, contained 2.9 kilograms of skunk cleverly concealed within bags of semovita, while the other, intended for the same destination, held 14 grams of methamphetamine concealed in the soles of ladies’ high heel shoes.
In Imo state, NDLEA operatives patrolling the Aba-Owerri expressway on Wednesday, September 13th, made a startling discovery. They intercepted five pregnant teenage girls who are suspected victims of child trafficking for use in a baby factory. The girls, aged between 15 and 17, include Chioma Emmanuel, Uma Faith, Divine Adimonye, Opara Gift, and Amarachi Mbata. Shockingly, they claimed not to know the men who had impregnated them. The Imo state command of the Agency has been directed to hand them over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for further investigations.
In other drug-related arrests, two suspects, Moses Akowe and Sunday Gabriel, were apprehended with 227.1 kilograms of cannabis in Ikebe village, Ankpa LGA, Kogi state on Tuesday, September 11th. Additionally, a female suspect, Bilikisu Salako, was nabbed with 108 kilograms of the same substance on Saturday, September 16th, in Ifo area of Ogun state. Further investigations led to the arrest of two more suspects, Muntari Nasiru and Yusuf Ali, in Kano, who were linked to 100 blocks of cannabis weighing 55 kilograms and 600 bottles of codeine-based syrup seized from Salisu Murtala and Shafi’u Dahiru on September 11th along Abuja road.
In the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, a 27-year-old individual named Kingsley Chimaobi was arrested with a staggering 6,000 bottles of codeine-based syrup along the Lokogoma-Abuja road on September 11th.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, a Federal High Court in Lagos sentenced drug dealer Segun Odeyemi to five years in prison for trafficking and dealing in 3,842 kilograms of skunk. Odeyemi was apprehended on July 1st while transporting 89 jumbo bags of the illicit substance in his truck near the Eleganza area of Ajah, Lekki. The trial took place under the jurisdiction of Justice Akintayo Aluko, presiding over suit number FHC/L/388C/2023.
Apart from these crucial operations, various NDLEA commands across the country have continued their “War Against Drug Abuse” (WADA) sensitization activities in the past week. These activities have included advocacy visits to prominent figures, such as the head of the Kadiria Islamic Sect of Africa, Sheikh Qaribullah Nasiru Kabara, in Kano, and sensitization lectures for the Nigerian Army at Sobi barracks in Ilorin. Additionally, the Agency conducted lectures for the Muslim community in Kaduna, Enugu State College of Health and Technology in Oji-River, members of the Ram Sellers Association in Osogbo, and officers and men of the Nigerian Navy School of Music in Ota, Ogun state.
NDLEA’s Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), commended the officers and men of MMIA, Imo, Kaduna, Ogun, Kogi, FCT, and Lagos Commands, as well as those of DOGI, for their unwavering commitment to intensify drug control efforts. He also praised their dedication to collaborating with other stakeholders to deliver WADA sensitization lectures and advocacy messages to communities, schools, worship centers, workplaces, and traditional institutions, emphasizing the importance of not relenting in this critical battle against drug abuse and trafficking.