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How sniffer dogs outed cocaine, other drugs from S’Africa, Canada -NDLEA

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted large consignments of cocaine and colorado [a strong strain of cannabis], concealed in containerised household items and vehicles imported from Durban, South Africa and Canada, at the Tincan Seaport in Lagos.

Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, who disclosed this, said following coordinated intelligence and months of tracking of the containers by three special units of NDLEA, the illicit drugs, along with arms, ammunition and sundry military effects, were seized during joint examination of the three containers by the agency’s officers and their counterparts from Customs Service and other security agencies, between Thursday and Friday last week.

Babafemi said: “Some of the agency’s sniffer dogs were also deployed to help identify locations and bags used in concealing the illicit items. Some of the items recovered from the containers include: 1, 274 parcels of cocaine and colorado with a total weight of 884.09 kilograms; four pistols; 197 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 49 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 275 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 14 rounds of 9mm ammunition and sundry military personnel effects, as well as some chemicals in kegs.

With the exception of 32.5kg shipment of colorado that came in used vehicles from Canada, the rest of the items were found in two of three containers that arrived the Tincan port from Durban, South Africa, onboard a vessel marked MSC RESILIENT III and discharged on new year eve, December 31, 2023. A suspect linked to one of the containers, UACU 5348336, bearing the 32.5kg colorado, 41-year-old Akara Chibugo, has already been tracked and arrested by NDLEA operatives.”

He added: “Two vigilant freight agents and a traveler escaped being roped into two drug trafficking operations by desperate traffickers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos. The two agents were contacted to send a consignment of 1kg cannabis concealed in tins of Milo beverage to Turkey, but chose to submit the shipment to NDLEA checks before processing the cargo. The psychoactive substance was later discovered to be hidden inside the shipment.”

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In the same vein, NDLEA operatives, last Friday, arrested one Okosun Paul Punitt, the consignee of a consignment of tramadol concealed in a bottle of dietary supplements, which a staff of Pathfinder International Ltd, Ajuzieogu Mac-Elvis Ugochukwu, attempted sending through an intending passenger on Ibom Air to Accra, Ghana, at the Lagos airport, last Tuesday.

A video of the face-off between the passenger and Ajuzieogu later went viral after the vigilant passenger suspected the consignment contained illicit substances. Both Ajuzieogu and the exhibit were later transferred to NDLEA, last Thursday, by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for investigation. Preliminary findings by NDLEA showed the parcel contained 50 pills of tramadol 225mg concealed in a bottle of dietary supplements. A follow up operation by the agency led to the arrest of Okosun upon his return from Ghana on Friday. He has, in his statement, confirmed ownership of the drug.

In Kano, no fewer than 5, 653,000 pills of tramadol 250mg and exol-5 were seized from three suspects. While Nura Abdullahi, 38, and Tahir Muhammad Mukhtar, 42, were arrested at the Bacharawa area of Kano with 5, 404,000 pills of tramadol 250mg, on Sunday, January 14, Yusuf Umar, 50, was nabbed at the Gadar Tamburawa area of the state the previous day, with 249,000 tablets of exol-5 by NDLEA operatives.

In Lagos, two suspects: Ali Abubakar and Murtala Sani, were arrested at the Ojodu Berger area last Tuesday, with 110kg of cannabis sativa, while 69kg of same substance was recovered from the hideout of a fleeing suspect in Akerele, Surulere same day. Not less than 2, 800 bottles of codeine-based cough syrup were recovered by NDLEA officers, last Saturday, during a raid operation at Aleita FCT, Abuja. The suspected owner of the consignment, Jideofor Sochima, is still at large.

While a total of 100, 510 pills of opioids were seized from a suspect, Ike Emmanuel, 35, last Thursday, at Dan-Anacha village, Taraba State, NDLEA operatives in Abia State arrested 60-year-old Joseph Isiguzoro, as well as Emmanuel Eugene and Malachi Ndu in parts of Abia State with 34,200 pills of opioids. Isiguzoro was equally found with monetary exhibits totalling N2,885,045 only.

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The War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy campaign of the agency continued in equal measure in schools, markets, worship places and others across the country in the past week. Some of them include: WADA sensitisation lecture at the Federal University of Technology, Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom; Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos; Edusoko University, Bida, Niger State and WADA advocacy lecture at Community Secondary School, Bichi, Kano State, among others.

While commending the officers and men of Tincan, MMIA, Abia, Taraba, Lagos, Kano and FCT Commands as well as the special units of the agency for the arrests and seizures of the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd), urged them and their compatriots across all formations of the agency to remain focused and resolute in pursuit of the corporate goal of winning the war against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria. He further charged them to maintain the flame of collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and stakeholders in their areas of responsibility.

Theresa Arike
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