By EromoseleÂ Abiodun
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) yesterday announced that it has since 2006 seized a total of 15,064kg of cocaine and heroin valued at about N225 trillion at the Tin Can Island and Apapa ports of Lagos.
This figure was disclosed by the Chairman of the agency Col. Muhammed Mustapha Abdallah (RTD.) in a recent statement signed by the agency’s spokesman Mitchel Ofoyeju.
Abdallah further disclosed in the statement that drug barons were targeting the ports for their illicit drug activities while vowing that NDLEA would resist their scheming.
A breakdown of the seized drugs showed 14,813.40 kg of cocaine and 251.22 kg of heroin within the period.
The agency also reiterated its resolve to continue screening incoming and outgoing cargoes at the nation’s ports.
According to the NDLEA boss, “the seaports are high risk drug trafficking locations because of the movement of large volume of consignments. Official record of drug seizures at the ports underscores the volatility of the ports in drug trafficking. Since 2006, the Agency has seized over 15,064kg of cocaine and heroin at the Lagos ports. The country cannot afford to condone this criminal trade because such huge proceeds in the hands of drugs cartels are threatening. We shall continue to screen incoming and outgoing vessels thereby making the ports impregnable to drug trafficking organisations”.
Abdallah added that the presence of the NDLEA at the ports was of immense economic and security benefit to the country adding that the agency would maintain alertness and frustrate any action targeted at disrupting her operations at the seaports.
Contrary to reports, he said the agency had the approval of the federal government to operate at the ports and this onerous responsibility shall be diligently and effectively discharged.
Abdallah reiterated that the NDLEA will take reasonable measures in preventing the seaports from being used for drug trafficking.
The statement listed some of the seizures and dates they were made while also calling on port users to cooperate with the anti-narcotic agency in the fight against illicit trafficking of drugs through the ports.
â€œSome of the spectacular drug seizures made at the ports include 14.2 metric tons of cocaine imported from Chile and intercepted in June 2006 at the Tin Can Island Port Lagos. The drug which was concealed in a shipment of white cement was rated the single largest seizure of cocaine in Africa and fifth largest in the world. There is also the celebrated case of 450.400 kg of cocaine hidden in processed wood. The drug imported from Chile by a Taiwanese and a Chinese drug baron was intercepted at the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos in July 2010.Â
â€œIn addition, 137.73 kg of heroin was intercepted at the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos in November 2010. The heroin hidden in industrial equipment and sewing threads was imported from the Republic of Iran.Â Cocaine weighing 165 kg packed in 150 square parcels inside 38 cartons of floor tiles imported from Bolivia was equally intercepted at the Tin Can Island Port Lagos in January 2011. A week later, 110kg of cocaine was detected inside 25 packs of floor tiles containing four parcels each which originated from Bolivia also at Tin Can port.
â€œIn May 2012, 113.49kg of heroin industrially concealed in three moulding machines imported from Islamabad, Pakistan in a 20 feet container was intercepted at the Tin Can Island Port Lagos in May 2012. The shipment was monitored and intercepted by NDLEA officials at Okota area of Lagos while it was being taken to a private warehouse, â€œhe disclosed.