Three sexagenarian, who are also grandfathers and a Nigerien top the list of suspects arrested in connection with the seizure of over 52.25 kilogrammes of cocaine, methamphetamine, and skunk as well as 32,590 pills of opioids in some states.
A statement yesterday, by the spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, revealed that the suspects were arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in the past week. in Lagos, Kwara, Plateau, Sokoto and two courier companies.
According to the statement, a suspect, Onyebi Chimaobi who frequents Cameroun, Ethiopia, Uganda and had been on NDLEA’s watch list was on Saturday, February 18, arrested at Victory Estate, Iba, Ojo area of Lagos in connection with the seizure of a 19.70 kilogrammes cocaine abandoned on an Ethiopian airline flight that arrived Lagos airport on Thursday, February 9th
Babafemi stated that Chimaobi had travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to pick the consignment, which he claimed was handed over to him in a black backpack bag on the plane in Addis Ababa, but failed to disembark with it on arrival in Lagos.
He said while the agency continued to investigate the flight crew members, relevant intelligence and investigative tools were deployed to identify the passenger who brought the consignment to Nigeria as a result of which Chimaobi was eventually unraveled and traced to Victory Estate, Iba where he was arrested.
He also disclosed that, “operatives last Thursday, intercepted an intending passenger on Turkish Airline flight to Turin via Milan, Italy at the Departure Hall of the Lagos airport, Obazee Eguagie, with various quantities of opioids.
“The consignment consisting a total of 22,840 tablets of tramadol 225mg weighing 10.6 kilogrammes; 1000 tablets of tramadol 200mg with a gross weight of 600 grammes; 2,300 capsules of tramadol 100mg, weighing 800 grammes and 60 tablets of Rohypnol 1mg, weighing 19 grams were concealed inside cloths and wrapped with black tapes.”
Babafemi pointed out that, “the following day, last Friday, NDLEA operatives attached to the NAHCO import shed of the airport intercepted eight cartons of shoes coming from Los Angeles, United States of America,” noting that a diligent examination of the cargo however showed that the shoes were used to conceal a total of 37 parcels of loud variant of cannabis with a gross weight of 20.10 kilogrammes.
“A 63-year-old grandfather, Balogun Abideen hired as freight agent to clear the illicit consignment has already been arrested. Two other sexagenarians arrested in connection with drug trafficking include Butven Siman, 62, who was nabbed with 5.5 kilogrammes skunk on Friday 17th February at Timbol village, Langtang South local government area, Plateau state, as well as 65-year-old Musa Shuaib who was arrested with a kilogramme of cannabis last Thursday in Adewole area of Ilorin, the Kwara state capital,” it added.
He said at two major courier companies in Lagos, a total of 4.292 kilogrammes of psychoactive drugs, including methamphetamine, tramadol, Lexaton, and Swindon concealed in walls of cartons, picture frames, bathing soap packs and bedsheets, were recovered from parcels going to United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia by officers of the NDLEA Directorate of Operations and General Investigation, DOGI attached to the logistics firms.
In Sokoto State, “NDLEA operatives at the Illela land border last Tuesday intercepted a Nigerien, Bashar Abdu of Kwanni, Niger Republic with 1.46 kilogrammes of skunk wrapped round his private part, while in Kaduna, a suspect, Mohammed Garba (a.k.a Alfazazi), was arrested with 6,390 tablets of tramadol 225mg, weighing 3.4 kilogrammes last Thursday along Abuja-Kaduna express road.”
Commenting on the feat, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd), while commending the officers and men of MMIA, DOGI, Plateau, Sokoto, Kaduna and Kwara Commands of the agency for the arrests and seizures, noted that their efforts and those of their compatriots across the country in no small measure reduced access to and availability of illicit substances in Nigerian communities. He charged them to remain vigilant at all times.