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NDLEA Intercepts 2.3 Million Tabs of North-bound Opioids
Michael Olugbode in Abuja
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disclosed that in series of interdiction operations in the past week, it intercepted over 2.3 million tablets of illicit pharmaceutical opioids and other psychoactive substances meant for distribution in seven northern states of Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara, Gombe and Nasarawa.
A statement yesterday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, which gave the exact figure of interceptions at 2,325,553 tablets and capsules of tramadol, hypnox, diazepam and Exol-5 including 7,353 bottles of a new psychoactive substance locally called Akuskura, said the drugs were seized at locations across Kaduna, Kogi, Sokoto, and the FCT.
He said in Kaduna, a drug dealer Umar Sanusi, was arrested on August 12, during a follow up operation in Kano and brought back to Kaduna where his consignment of 50 cartons of pregabalin 300mg, containing 750,000 capsules, weighing 375 kilogrammes earlier seized along Abuja-Kaduna expressway was counted and weighed in his presence.
He disclosed that same day, operatives also intercepted along Abuja-Kaduna express road 7,068 bottles of a new dangerous substance of abuse called Akuskura meant for Kaduna, Zamfara, Gombe, Kano and Borno, adding that the recipients in Kaduna and Zamfara have been arrested during follow up operations.
The following day, August 13th, 285 bottles of the NPS were recovered from a dealer, Abubakar Ahmad, along the same highway, he further disclosed.
According to him, in Kogi State, no fewer than 696,000 tablets of tramadol and Exol-5 among others loaded into a truck at Onitsha, Anambra state and heading to Maiduguri, Borno state, were seized along Okene-Abuja expressway last Friday, August 19th, while NDLEA operatives also recovered 300,000 tablets of diazepam from a suspect, Faruku Bello, 30, in Sokoto State last Wednesday.
Babafemi said anti-narcotic officers of the agency in Abuja, FCT equally at the weekend intercepted a bus loaded with 323,200 tablets of tramadol 225mg and others at Onitsha, Anambra State, heading to Nasarawa State.
He noted that the driver of the vehicle, Osita Nwobodo, 45, who made fruitless bids to compromise the operatives is now in custody.
He also said a major importer of Loud variant of cannabis from the United States, Abibu Sola and a 63-year-old grandfather who ships illicit substances to his daughter in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) were among those arrested by NDLEA operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
“Abibu was arrested in connection with a 19.30 kilogrammes Colorado consignment from Los Angeles, USA, which was intercepted on 30th June at the NAHCO cargo import shed of the Lagos airport. While Abibu was still being interrogated in custody, a 37.1 kilogrammes consignment of Loud intercepted on 7th July was also traced to him.
“Meanwhile, a freight agent, Miss Njoko Elizabeth, 37, has been arrested for attempting to export 250 grammes of tramadol and cannabis to Dubai through the NAHCO export shed.
“The drug exhibits were concealed inside some gallons of palm oil and honey, which were packed among food items and hair attachment.
“Also at the Lagos airport, 249,600 tablets of tramadol 225mg have been recovered from a shipment from India at the SAHCO import shed of the MMIA,” the statement added.
Babafemi said the consignment that arrived from India via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airline flight on 4th August was eventually evacuated last Wednesday as an abandoned seizure.
He also said the 63-year-old grandfather behind an intercepted drug exhibit going to Dubai, Afolabi Kolawole on August 4, was arrested in Ibadan, Oyo state last Thursday, after more than four sets of arrests eventually unraveled him.
He said Kolawole confessed that he was responsible for the concealment and packaging of the cannabis inside the black native soap used as mode of concealment and also admitted this was his second attempt at sending such illicit substance to his daughter, Barakat, in Dubai.
“An Italy-bound passenger, Oziegbe Andrew, 55, was last Friday arrested with 600 grammes of tramadol 200mg while attempting to board Royal Air Maroc flight to Italy, via Casablanca, also seven cartons of khat leaf with a total weight of 295 kilogrammes have been seized at the NAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport.
“The consignment came into Nigeria from Tanzania through Cairo on Egypt Air,” he added.
Babafemi said operatives of the Directorate of Operation and General Investigation (DOGI) in NDLEA attached to courier firms intercepted 11.36 kilogrammes heroin and cannabis packaged for UAE, Netherlands and Omar concealed in dictionary, fancy light and body cream.
He added: “In Niger state, 139 bags and 176 compressed blocks of cannabis loaded in Ogere, Ogun state and heading to Zaria, Kaduna state were seized by NDLEA operatives along Abuja-Kaduna road, Suleja from a company vehicle while the driver, Sani Mohammed, 44, and his assistant, Abubakar Abubakar, 30, were arrested.”
The NDLEA spokesman said raids carried out in Akala, Mushin area of Lagos also led to the arrest of Pelumi Goodness and Ola Funke while over 1,171.75 kilogrammes cannabis and 29 litres of codeine syrup were recovered.
Reacting to the series of arrests and interceptions, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd), was quoted in the statement to have commended the officers and men of the MMIA, Kaduna, Kogi, Sokoto, and FCT Commands as well as DOGI for their efforts. He, however, urged them and their compatriots across the country to intensify their efforts at reducing the drug supply and drug demand in the country.