N6bn Captagon Pills Meant for Bandits, Insurgents, Marwa Alleges

Wale Igbintade

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disclosed that about 18,560 tablets of captagon pills recently intercepted at the Apapa Port in Lagos must have been imported by insurgents and bandits all over the country.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohamed Marwa (rtd) at a press conference in Lagos.

Marwa said that the 18,560 tablets of captagon worth about N6 billion going by the street value of about $25 per tablet.

He also disclosed that one person has been arrested in connection with the drug stressing that the agency would not rest until every person connected to the shipment is arrested.

According to him, this was the first time captagon drug would be brought into any African country south of the Sahara adding that the highly addictive pill, widely available across the Middle East, produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing them to stay awake for days, making them fearless, predisposes them to reckless action that puts the lives of people around them in jeopardy.

Marwa noted that it was the same captagon drug that was found on the phone of the French-Tunisian terrorist who killed 84 civilians in France on Bastille Day in 2016.

He stated that what should give a discerning Nigerian nightmare concerning the drug is the fact that its production and sale is controlled by militias and large criminal groups in the Middle East.

He said: “Imagine the impact of this drug in the hands of criminal gangs or a fraction of the profit from its sale being used to fuel criminalities across the country. Gentlemen of the press, we can think of our worst-case scenarios and they will still be farther from the repercussions that could be unleashed on the country.”

Marwa said that captagon has been linked to the escalation of the Syrian civil war and stressed that “a lot of seizures have been made since 2017, mostly in the Arabian Peninsula, and in Italy and Turkey, and the point of origination, almost all the time, were traced back to Syria and Lebanon.

“This gave rise to the theory that ISIS is behind the production and sale of captagon as a means of generating funds for weapons and combatants, and for use as a stimulant to keep them fighting.

“That is the drug we have on our hands now. If these facts are not grim enough, we should all remember a lesson from history, when in World War Two, Nazi Germany wreaked havoc across Europe with chemically-enhanced soldiers that the combined forces of Europe could not tame. With the official endorsement of the use of pervatin, a brand of methamphetamine, which belongs to the same family group as amphetamine, the Nazi fighting forces were transformed into fearless and berserk soldiers whose ferocity and reckless abandonment could not be matched by the forces of invaded countries. Thus one country after the other fell to the Nazis, and history recorded that ignominious cruelty and barbarism were unleashed on conquered territories by drug-addicted soldiers of the Third Reich.

“This is the same condition we have presently with insurgents, bandits, cultists, robbers, kidnappers and herders spilling rampaging across the country.”

The NDLEA Chairman said that “sometime in March 2021, we received intel from our international partners on the shipment of illicit narcotics to Nigeria from the Middle East through the Apapa port. The container passed through three countries and was trans-loaded in a North African country, but we kept track of it along with our partners.

“We made the first attempts to examine the container on Thursday, August 26, 2021, and what we found inside the container were three (3) pieces of marble polishing machines, otherwise called sanders.

“Further scrutiny on Monday, August 31, with the NDLEA sniffer dogs turned up a positive indication on the rotor coil of one of the three machines. The next day, Wednesday, September 1, 18,560 tablets of drug suspected to be Amphetamine (captagon) weighing 3.2 kilogram was found deeply concealed in one of the coils.

“The following day, Thursday, September 2, the other two machines were dismantled, and in all, a total of 451, 807 tablets, weighing 74.119 kilograms, were discovered hidden inside their rotor coils.”

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