Michael Olugbode in Abuja
Latest attempts to export various quantities of methamphetamine and skunk by members of some transnational drug trafficking organisations through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and courier companies in Lagos have been thwarted by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) who intercepted the illicit drug consignments concealed in different items.
A statement yesterday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, said that at the Lagos airport, NDLEA operatives last Tuesday intercepted an intending passenger going to Oman, Ugwu Tochukwu, while trying to board a Qatar Airways flight, noting that upon a thorough search of his luggage, 7.50 kilogrammes of skunk were discovered concealed inside crayfish mixed with dry bitter leaf.
Babafemi added that NDLEA officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations attached to some courier companies also intercepted Dubai-bound 2.9 kilogrammes of skunk and 14 grammes of methamphetamine concealed in bags of semovita and soles of ladies’ high heel shoes respectively.
He said in Imo state, operatives on patrol along Aba-Owerri expressway last Wednesday intercepted five pregnant teenage girls suspected to be victims of child trafficking used as baby factory. He disclosed that they were picked up while being relocated from their hideout in Naze area of Owerri to Ikenegbu area of the state capital.
The victims include: Chioma Emmanuel, 15; Uma Faith, 15; Divine Adimonye, 17; Opara Gift, 15; and Amarachi Mbata, 16. In their statements, they claimed they didn’t know the men who impregnated them. The Imo state command of the agency has since been directed to hand them over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), for further investigations.
Babafemi also said two suspects: Moses Akowe, 32, and Sunday Gabriel, 31, were arrested with 227.1 kilogrammes of cannabis last Tuesday at Ikebe village, Ankpa Local government Area of Kogi state, even as a female suspect, Bilikisu Salako, 35, was nabbed with 108 kilogrammes of same substance last Saturday in Ifo area of Ogun state.
He revealed that a total of 100 blocks of cannabis weighing 55 kilogrammes and 600 bottles of codeine-based syrup seized from the duo of Salisu Murtala and Shafi’u Dahiru last Tuesday along Abuja road have been traced to two other suspects: Muntari Nasiru and Yusuf Ali who were arrested in follow up operations in Kano.
In FCT Abuja, a 27-year-old Kingsley Chimaobi was arrested with 6,000 bottles of codeine-based syrup along Lokogoma-Abuja road last Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Lagos last Wednesday sentenced to five years imprisonment a drug dealer, Segun Odeyemi for trafficking and dealing in 3,842 kilogrammes of skunk. He was arrested on Saturday 1st July while conveying 89 jumbo bags of the illicit substance in his truck around Eleganza area of Ajah, Lekki. He was subsequently charged in suit number FHC/L/388C/2023 presided over by Justice Akintayo Aluko.
Babafemi said across the country, various commands of the agency continued their War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, sensitisation activities in the past week taking advocacy messages to the stakeholders. He noted that instances of this include, WADA advocacy visit to the head of Kadiria Islamic Sect of Africa, Sheikh Qaribullah Nasiru Kabara, in Kano; WADA sensitisation lecture for men and officers of Nigerian Army, Sobi barracks, Ilorin; lecture for Muslim community in Kaduna; WADA sensitisation lecture at Enugu State College of Health and Technology, Oji- River; advocacy lecture for members of Ram Sellers Association, Osogbo as well as officers and men of the Nigerian Navy School of Music, Ota, Ogun state, among others.