The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has arrested eight drug peddlers for attempting to import cocaine pellets into the country and export thousands of other illicit drugs to the European continent through the international airports in Lagos, Abuja, and Enugu.
The anti-narcotic agency also seized tonnes of opioids, rubber solution, skunk, and meth in Abuja, Kaduna, Sokoto and Anambra states.
In a statement by the NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, the agency said at least two ladies and six men were arrested over attempts to import hundreds of cocaine pellets into Nigeria and export thousands of Tramadol 255mg tablets among other illicit drugs to Europe through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The streaks of arrests and seizures began on Sunday, July 17, when a 52-year-old father of three, Okwo Okechukwu, was arrested upon his arrival from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, via an Ethiopian airline flight at the Abuja airport for ingesting 76 pellets of cocaine.
During a preliminary interview with the agency, Okechukwu who hails from Enugu Ezike, Igbo Eze Local Government Area, Enugu State, said he was into selling women’s wigs and hair attachments before veering into the drug trade. He has since completed excreting all the 76 wraps of the drug he swallowed while under observation at the agency’s facility in Abuja.
Another father of three, Lawrence Chijioke, 42 years, was arrested at the Abuja airport the same day in an operational synergy between the NDLEA and Nigeria Customs Service at the NAIA. Chijioke, who hails from Umuahia in Umuahia LGA, Abia State was arrested during an inward clearance of an Ethiopian Airline flight from Addis Ababa with 529 pellets of cocaine weighing 11.70kg concealed in his bag. In his statement to the anti-narcotic officers, he claimed he was promised N2 million, which he planned to use to boost his business, upon successful delivery of the cocaine consignment in Abuja.
The NDLEA officials also, on Saturday, July 23, arrested 29-year-old Onuorah Onyinye at the Enugu airport upon arrival on an Ethiopian airline flight from Addis Ababa. A search of her luggage led to the discovery of 2.192 kilograms of cocaine concealed in two feminine designer handbags with false linings.
Attempts by drug traffickers to export different illicit drugs through the NAHCO export shed at the Lagos airport to Europe and the United Arab Emirates were also frustrated by officers and men of the Agency. The officials on Monday July, 18, intercepted some illicit substances concealed in a consolidated cargo going to Dubai, the UAE.
Apart from 24 parcels of Loud, a variant of cannabis, which is largely grown in the United States and Canada, other substances recovered from the cargo include a precursor for methamphetamine, BMK glycidic acid; tablets of designer drug MDMA and another five parcels of cannabis.
No fewer than four freight agents were arrested in connection with the seizure. They include Balogun Olamilekan; Sulaimon Yetunde; Benjamin Joel; and Omoniyi Abraham.
On the same day, Monday July 18, the bid by an Italy-bound passenger, Tony Osas, to export 10,250 tablets of Tramadol- 255mg to Europe through the Lagos airport was foiled by the NDLEA officials who intercepted him at gate B departure hall during outward clearance of passengers on a Turkish airline flight to Milan.
During a search of his luggage, Osas who hails from Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State was found with the illicit substance that weighed 5.70kg concealed inside gari, a local cassava product tucked in his black handbag.
In Kaduna, a driver Jamilu Lawal, was arrested on Sunday, July 17, along Abuja-Kaduna express road, with 157,000 tablets of Diazepam weighing 37.5kg. A follow-up operation the same day led to the arrest of the actual owner of the consignment, Abubakar Isiyaku, in Katsina State. Another suspect, Isah Mohammed, was equally arrested the same day in Kano during a follow-up operation, after the interception of his consignment, 2,500kg rubber solution (solvent) locally called Shalisha in Kaduna.
In Abuja, no fewer than four persons were arrested over 345.4kg seizures of cannabis. While Mohammed Auwal, 37; Godspower John, 34, and Chukwuma Odeh, 35, were arrested in Jabi Park over a 77.7kg drug consignment on July 18, Isah Yusuf, 25, who hails from Kaura Namoda LGA, Zamfara State, was nabbed with 267.7kg cannabis when officials raided DeiDei area of the FCT on Saturday 23rd July.
In Sokoto, officials on stop and search operation along Gusau-Sokoto road arrested one Tochukwu Oranusi with 20,100 tablets of Rohypnol inside a commercial bus coming from Onitsha, Anambra State. Bottles of Codeine Syrup weighing 15.2 litres and 400grams of Rohypnol tabs whose owner, Buhari Sambo, was later arrested.
In Anambra State, a suspect, Azubuike Ogbanu, was arrested with 76 cups of Arizona, 172 sachets of skunk, 82 pinches of methamphetamine, 20 sachets of Loud, and 10 wraps of Colorado when his base, Loren hostel, Ifite, Awka, was raided by officials on Thursday, July 21 .
Meanwhile, commending the officers and men of the MMIA, NAIA, AIIA, Kaduna, Sokoto, the Federal Capital Territory and Anambra, the NDLEA Commands, for the arrests, seizures and their tenacity, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd.), urged the officials across the country to remain steadfast in pursuit of the anti-narcotics agency’s goal of ridding the country of illicit substances.