Michael Olugbode in Abuja
A 53-year-old physically challenged man, Ehiarimwiam Emmanuel, has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the departure hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos for alleged drug trafficking.
Ehiarimwiam was arrested on August 28 on his way to Italy via Doha on a Qatar Airways flight with 5,000 tablets of tramadol 225mg concealed in his luggage.
According to the spokesman of NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect is a frequent traveller who often traveled with lots of bags containing mainly food items, body cream, hair attachment and drinks.
He said the suspect had presented his usual large consignment to NDLEA operatives for search but held on to some packages, which were retrieved from him and properly searched during which the drugs were discovered.
Babafemi also said as part of ongoing efforts to demobilise and dismantle all organised criminal groups behind the production and distribution of crystal methamphetamine across the country, “NDLEA operatives on August 29 raided a suspected clandestine laboratory at OPIC Estate, Agbara.”
He said clues from the searched led operatives to another property in the vicinity where one Peter James was apprehended with some quantity of illicit substance, with a follow up operation within the estate leading to the arrest of a meth dealer, Mathew Imonitie, who was caught with 4.03 kilogrammes of narcotics substance.
The spokesman also disclosed that a raid at a rented apartment in Raji Rasaki First Estate in Festac town, Lagos, on August 27 led to the seizure of 412,780 tablets of tramadol and the arrest of one of the suspects involved, Kingsley Duru.
In the same vein, troops of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army have handed over to the Lagos State Command of NDLEA 792 blocks of cannabis sativa smuggled from the Volta region of Ghana into Ogun State but intercepted at a checkpoint along the Ilaro-Benin Republic border.
In Niger State, NDLEA operatives last Thursday intercepted a truck conveying animal feeds from Lagos to Kaduna with 449 compressed blocks and 111 bags of cannabis sativa weighing 1,531 kilogrammes belonging to a dealer in Zaria. The drug consignment was said to have been loaded into the truck in Akure, Ondo State. The truck driver, Yahaya Sani; his assistant, Samaila Rabiu; his motor boy, Bilal Ibrahim; representative of the cannabis owner, Awolu Isyaku, and a passenger, Mustapha Abdulrahman, were all arrested.
Also, in Gombe State, operatives intercepted 811,000 tablets of tramadol, diazepam and Exol-5 weighing 150 kilogrammes in a vehicle loaded in Onitsha, Anambra State, at Ahmadu-Kafi area of Gombe State, while in Ondo State, NDLEA operatives, who combed the Ala forest in Akure North Local Government Area for a drug lord, intercepted eight suspected bandits terrorising farmers in the area. Those arrested were Austin Dickson, 47, who is the gang leader; Sunday Adekunle, 31; Kayode Oluwaseun, 29; Kolawole Kazeem, 33; Oladimeji Makinde, 37; Emeka Charles, 46; Ojo Oluwadare, 40, and Lanre Oluwajana, 44.
Babafemi said the suspected bandits were nabbed last Friday, and things recovered from them included 25 bags of cannabis sativa weighing 296 kilogrammes; six explosive devices; six cartridges; four motorcycles and assorted charms used in terrorising farmers in the forest.
In Sokoto, drug operatives last Saturday intercepted a commercial bus on which two five CD loader players were recovered on Sokoto-Bodinga road. Upon search, 5.5 kilogrammes of cannabis were discovered inside the CD players and the owner, Nasiru Ibrahim, arrested, while in another bus, a suspected bandit Sani Ibrahim, 37, was arrested with some ammunition and cannabis sativa on Kware road.
An Abuja businesswoman, Onyinye Nwoke, 38, has been arrested following an intelligence-led raid at her residence, House 56 Aldenco Estate, Galadimawa, where operatives uprooted fresh stems of cannabis plants grown at the backyard of the house. The uprooted plants weighed 18.4 kilogrammes while 800 grammes of cannabis seeds were also recovered from the house.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), while commending the officers and men of the MMIA Lagos, Niger, Sokoto, Ondo, FCT and Gombe States Commands for the arrests and seizures, charged them and their compatriots across the country to intensify the heat on drug cartels in Nigeria, and balance their efforts on supply reduction with drug demand reduction activities.