Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have thwarted attempts by organised criminal groups (OCGs) to use various modes of concealment to import illicit substances into Nigeria and export the same to the UK and United Arab Emirate (UEA) through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja and Tincan seaport in Lagos State.
Not less than 37.5kgs of such illicit consignments were intercepted in the past week, with the arrest of 11 suspects in interdiction operations that led to the seizure of almost four tons of skunk in Kaduna, Kano and Lagos states.
Spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said on Sunday in Abuja that at the Lagos airport, a freight agent, Ogunsina Damilare, was arrested on January 6, trying to export 1.5kgs of skunk hidden in foodstuffs to Dubai, UAE through the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA.
According to him, a similar attempt to ship 11.5kgs of illicit substance to the UK was frustrated when the consignment concealed in a giant wooden sculpture was intercepted by NDLEA operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations (DOGI) at a courier company in Lagos.
“Curiously, the latter emanated from Ghana with London as destination,” Babafemi said.
He said at the Tincan port in Lagos, a shipment of 24.5kgs hemp to Nigeria from Montreal, Canada was intercepted by operatives.
A N8m bribe offered NDLEA officers by the importer has been secured in an account for the prosecution of the case.
He said, “While the importer, Cedrick Maduweke, is still at large, one of his accomplices, Steve Isioma Adigwe, has been arrested. The consignment was hidden in a used Toyota Sienna vehicle that arrived at the port along with three other cars in a container marked MSMU 5082733.”
Meanwhile, a total of 3,672kgs of hemp were recovered five suspects arrested in Kaduna State during separate raid operations.
Arrested at a warehouse at Rido village on January 2, were Edward Emmanuel, 28; and Miracle Madu, with 298 bags of hemp weighing 3,576kgs.
Investigations revealed that the consignment was moved from a southern state to Kaduna State in a petroleum tanker.
Also, two other suspects: Sunday Bassey, 29 and Jessica Daniel, 14, were nabbed with 96kgs hemp at Gonin Gora area of the state, while Sanusi Isah, 30, was arrested on January 7 at Giwa area with over 12,000 tablets of tramadol 225mg and diazepam.
In Kano State, NDLEA operatives on January 7 intercepted Kabiru Abdulhamid, 40, with 119 blocks of hemp weighing 73kgs at Semugu area, while a total of 28,400 tablets of tramadol and over 230kgs of cannabis were seized in raid operations in Festac town and Lagos Island areas of Lagos State.
Some of the suspects arrested in the Lagos raids were Rukayyat Eshinlokun, Pelumi Alejo and Banna Maina who specialised in the distribution of illicit drugs disguised as dispatch riders.
In Imo State, a suspect, Amechi Moses, was arrested in a follow-up operation on January 6 following the interception of 29,800 tablets of Tramadol 225mg in a commercial bus along Owerri-Onitsha road going to Aba in Abia State.