The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it impounded a total of 5,377.125kilogrammes of drugs at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, in 2018, representing over 400 per cent increase from the 1,266.400 kilogrammes of drugs the agency impounded in 2017.
According to the agency, the quantity of drugs impounded quadrupled in 2018 as a result of the significant increase in the number of tramadol seized at the Lagos airport.
NDLEA said majority of the drugs were destined to Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia, Congo DRC, India, Mozambique, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
The MMIA Commandant, Mr. Ahmadu Garba, told journalists Wednesday at the airport that the agency was able to record such tremendous feat as a result of the trainings acquired by the officials of NDLEA to identify suspects, cooperation of airlines and significant increase in the number of tramadol seized at the airport
“We were able to make this huge success in 2018 as a result of the cooperation by foreign airlines. Every year, we look at the airlines with the highest number of people that are arrested and liaise with them on how to address issue of drug trafficking.
“30.14 per cent of the suspected drug couriers arrested during the year were coming into Nigeria and the remaining 69.89 per cent were destined to different countries of the world with 13.70 per cent of them going to South Africa, which has the highest numbers,” Garba said.
He explained that out of the total number of 5,377.125 kilogrammes seized by the agency, 5002.900 were tramadol, representing 93.04 per cent.
He said other drugs seized include cocaine, heroin, cannabis sativa, methamphetamine, ephedrine, psychotropic substance and dummy, adding that 25 people were convicted.
He further explained that during the period under review, seventy-nine males and one female, making a total of 80 Nigerians were deported for drug-related offences as against 139 deported in 2017, showing a decrease of 42.45 per cent.
“Most of the drug deportees came from South Africa 30 per cent, Thailand 23.75 per cent, United States of America (USA) 12.50 per cent and Ethiopia 10 per cent,” Garba said.
However, he noted that drug couriers have continued to deploy new tactics in packaging the drugs to avoid suspicion by officials at the airport.
The illegal mode of taking these drugs out of the country include the use of false bottom, electronics, stocking them inside food stuff and most recently the usage of starched cloths.
The drug couriers starch the cloths together with the drugs and if they are successful, they are able to detach the drugs from the starched cloths after processing them