The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has arrested eight drug traffickers for trying to import cocaine pellets into the country and exporting thousands of other illegal drugs to the European continent through international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu.
The anti-drug agency also seized tons of opioids, gum solution, skunk and meth in Abuja, Kaduna, Sokoto and Anambra states.
In a statement by NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy Femi Babafemi, the agency said at least two women and six men were arrested in an attempt to import hundreds of cocaine pellets into Nigeria and thousands of tramadol 255mg tablets to be exported to Europe through Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, among other illegal drugs.
The series of arrests and confiscations began on Sunday, July 17, when a 52-year-old father of three, Okwo Okechukwu, arrived at Abuja Airport on his arrival from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, via an Ethiopian airline flight for taking 76 was arrested pellets of cocaine.
During a preliminary interview with the agency, Okechukwu, who is from Enugu Ezike, Igbo Eze Local Government Area, Enugu State, said he sold women’s wigs and hair accessories before getting into the drug trade. He has since passed all 76 packs of the drug he swallowed while under surveillance at the agency’s Abuja facility.
Another father of three, Lawrence Chijioke, 42, was arrested the same day at Abuja Airport in an operational synergy between the NDLEA and Nigerian Customs Service at the NAIA. Chijioke, who is from Umuahia in Umuahia LGA, Abia state, was arrested with 529 pellets of cocaine weighing 11.70 kg in his bag during an entry check on an Ethiopian Airline flight from Addis Ababa. In his statement to anti-drug officials, he claimed he had been promised N2 million which he intended to use to boost his business after successfully delivering the cocaine shipment in Abuja.
NDLEA officers arrested 29-year-old Onuorah Onyinye at Enugu Airport on Saturday, July 23, as she arrived on an Ethiopian airline flight from Addis Ababa. A search of her luggage revealed 2.192 kilograms of cocaine hidden in two feminine designer handbags with false linings.
Attempts by drug traffickers to export various illegal drugs to Europe and the United Arab Emirates through the NAHCO export shed at Lagos Airport have also been thwarted by agency officials and men. Officers intercepted some illegal substances hidden in a groupage shipment bound for Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Monday July 18.
Aside from 24 packets of Loud, a variant of cannabis grown primarily in the United States and Canada, other substances recovered from the shipment include a precursor to methamphetamine, BMK-glycidic acid; Tablets of the designer drug MDMA and another five packets of cannabis.
No fewer than four cargo agents were arrested in connection with the seizure. These include Balogun Olamilekan; Sulaimon Yetunde; Benjamin Joel; and Omoniyi Abraham.
On the same day, Monday 18th July, an offer by a passenger bound for Italy, Tony Osas, to export 10,250 tablets of Tramadol – 255mg to Europe via Lagos Airport was thwarted by NDLEA officials who greeted him during the departures lounge Gate B intercepted passengers on a Turkish airline flight to Milan.
During a search of his luggage, Osas, who is from Ovia South-West Local Government Area in Edo State, found the illegal substance weighing 5.70 kg hidden in gari, a local cassava product hidden in his black purse.
In Kaduna, on Sunday July 17, driver Jamilu Lawal was arrested along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway with 157,000 diazepam tablets weighing 37.5 kg. A follow-up operation on the same day led to the arrest of the show’s actual owner, Abubakar Isiyaku, in Katsina State. Another suspect, Isah Mohammed, was also arrested the same day in Kano during a tracking operation after his shipment, 2,500 kg of gum solution (solvent) locally called Shalisha in Kaduna, was intercepted.
In Abuja, no fewer than four people have been arrested over seizures of 345.4 kg of cannabis. While Mohammed Auwal, 37; Godspower John, 34, and Chukwuma Odeh, 35, were arrested on July 18 in Jabi Park for a 77.7 kg shipment of drugs. Isah Yusuf, 25, who is from Kaura Namoda LGA, Zamfara State, was caught with 267.7 kg of cannabis in a raid on the DeiDei area of the FCT on Saturday 23 July.
In Sokoto, officers in a search and stop along the Gusau-Sokoto road arrested a Tochukwu Oranusi with 20,100 Rohypnol tablets on a commercial bus coming from Onitsha, Anambra state. Bottles of codeine syrup weighing 15.2 liters and 400 grams of Rohypnol tabs, the owner of which, Buhari Sambo, was later arrested.
In Anambra State, a suspect, Azubuike Ogbanu, was arrested with 76 cups of Arizona, 172 bags of Skunk, 82 pinches of methamphetamine, 20 bags of Loud and 10 wraps of Colorado when his base, the Loren Hostel, Ifite, Awka, was closed Thursday, April 21 July, searched by officers.
Meanwhile, the NDLEA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brig. Gen. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.) urged officials across the country to stand firm in pursuing the Anti-Drug Agency’s goal of ridding the country of illegal substances.