•Intercepts Oman-bound drug consignment


From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Over two months after they were declared wanted, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested three members of an organised criminal organisation which specialised in illicit drug trafficking across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe and America, following the recent seizure of the single largest consignment of heroin, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.

A total of 51.90 kilograms of heroin had been recovered from members of the drug cartel in an operation that began February 10, 2024, at the SAHCO Import Shed of the airport’s Cargo Terminal.

The consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines, with no less than 45 blocks of the illicit substance weighing 49.70kg recovered from the equipment, while additional 2.2kg was seized at the syndicate’s warehouse in the Ayobo area of Lagos.

While the agency has secured interim forfeiture court order on hotel, mansions, vehicles and funds traced to members of the syndicate after arresting four of them, a manhunt was also launched for others who went underground. The effort, however, paid off last Friday, when two of the wanted kingpins: Onyinyechi Irene Igbokwuputa and Frankline Uzochukwu, were arrested in Lagos and Awka, Anambra State, respectively. Another wanted member of the syndicate, Osita Emmanuel Obinna, was equally nabbed in Lagos.

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In the same vein, the attempt by a suspect, Iheakara Ifeanyichukwu Festus to export a drug consignment through the Terminal 2 of the Lagos airport to Muscat, Oman via Ethiopian airline flight, last Thursday,  was thwarted by NDLEA officers. When his luggage was searched, 20 big parcels of cannabis weighing 9.80kg were discovered concealed in his bag.

In his statement, the suspect, who lives in Muscat, Oman and returned to Nigeria on April 1, confessed that he was hired to courier the drug with an agreement to get paid N1,200,000 upon successful delivery in Oman.

In Adamawa State, NDLEA operatives, on Saturday, intercepted a Peugeot car driven by Dahiru Mohammed, at Girei, on his way to Mubi with 1,250,000 pills of opioids weighing 450kg. The operatives had earlier intercepted, along Ngurore -Yola road, a J5 bus marked AAA790XV loaded with motor spare parts from Onitsha, Anambra State, with consignments of codeine syrup and tramadol concealed in-between the motor parts. A follow up operation led to the arrest of the recipient, Jairus Nwanchor, at the Jambutu motor park.

Three suspects: Beriakuma Vivian Chinrdu, 40; Okpor Isaac, 68, and Daniel  Onyeachom, 42, were on Saturday April 20 arrested at Amarata,Yenagoa, Bayelsa state in connection with the seizure of 69 compressed blocks of cannabis weighing 36kg and concealed in a false compartment of a Toyota Picnic car marked MUS 711 DH they were travelling in.

The NDLEA operatives in Imo State, last Thursday, arrested Kingsley Omeje, 41, at Amajeke, Owerri, while he was taking delivery of 49 bottles of codeine syrup he ordered. In Ondo State, NDLEA operatives raided the Oloro camp, Ogbese, Akure North LGA, where they arrested Linus Odogwu, 50, and destroyed a total of 25,000 kilograms of cannabis on 10 hectares of farmland, while they recovered 89.5kg of the same substance. Three other suspects: David Obungete Ekepenyoung, 22; Oluwaseun Folorunso,23; and Rabiu Musa, 32, were nabbed in other parts of the state, in connection with different seizures totalling 77kg.

In the same vein, commands across the country intensified their War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), advocacy lectures. These include: WADA sensitisation lecture to students and staff of St. Dominic High School, Makurdi, Benue State; students and staff of the Federal Polytechnic, Kazaure, Jigawa State; traders at timber market, Umuokpo, Awka, Anambra State and WADA advocacy visit to Methodist Church (Bishop’s Court) Abeokuta, Ogun State, among others.

While commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ondo and Imo commands of the agency for their balanced efforts in the past week, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa (retd) equally applauded their counterparts across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures, thus, creating parity between their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction activities.