About 9.5 million tablets of pharmaceutical opioids – tramadol and Exol 5 – worth over N5bn have been seized at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Edo State by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
Of the figure, 214 cartons of Tramadol 225, under 10 different brand names, which translate to 9,219,400 tablets weighing 6,384.5kgs, with an estimated street value of N4,609,700,000 were transferred on March 29 alongside 85 cartons of dried khat leaves with a total weight of 1,327.35kgs by the Nigerian Customs to the MMIA Command of NDLEA as a symbol of the synergy between the two law enforcement agencies.
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Spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said on Sunday in Abuja, that about 228,740 tablets and capsules of tramadol and Exol 5 were intercepted on April 1 at Abaji area of the FCT.
According to him, the truck conveying the drugs loaded in Lagos and was heading to Kano.
“Though the truck driver escaped into the bush during the search of the vehicle, two of his assistants; Usman Abdulmumini, 23 and Aminu Ahmad, 22, were arrested,” Babafemi said.
At the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), a Brazilian returnee, Nnanna Anayo Michael, 39, was arrested during the inward screening of passengers on board Qatar Airline flight QR1433 from Doha to Port Harcourt on March 29.
Nnanna, who hails from Ekwusigo, Anambra State, was arrested with 73 sachets weighing 8.15kg of cocaine, which is the largest such seizure at the airport since it began international flight operations.
During a preliminary interview, Nnanna said he departed Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sunday at midnight en route Qatar to Port Harcourt.
He also claimed an unidentified person in Sao Paulo gave him six bedsheets in which the drug was concealed to deliver to another unidentified person at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
The 73 cocaine sachets were hidden in 4×1 feet factory sewn colourful bed sheets.
Five of the bedsheets contained 12 sachets each, while the sixth bed sheet contained 13 sachets.
An immediate follow-up operation led to the arrest of 50-year-old Monday Alaisu, who travelled from Lagos to pick up the drug from Nnenna.
He was arrested at the airport’s car park where he was waiting to receive Nnenna with the latter’s photograph taken at the Brazilian airport and his international passport’s data page in his hand.