From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have aborted fresh attempts to export various quantities of methamphetamine and skunk by members of some transnational drug trafficking organisations through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, and courier companies in Lagos.

The Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, in a statement, yesterday, said operatives of the agency  intercepted the illicit drug consignments concealed in different items.

“At the Lagos airport, NDLEA operatives on Tuesday September 12 intercepted an intending passenger going to Oman, Ugwu Peter Tochukwu, while trying to board a Qatar Airways flight. Upon a thorough search of his luggage, 7.50 kilograms of skunk were discovered concealed inside crayfish mixed with dry bitter leaf.

“In another operation, NDLEA officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations attached to some courier companies also intercepted Dubai-bound 2.9 kilograms of skunk and 14 grams of methamphetamine concealed in bags of semovita and soles of ladies’ high heel shoes, respectively,” the statement read.

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 a baby factory.

They were picked up while being relocated from their hideout in the Naze area of Owerri to the 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.

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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.

While two suspects: Moses Akowe, 32, and Sunday Gabriel, 31, were arrested with 227.1kgs of cannabis last Tuesday, at Ikebe village, Ankpa LGA, Kogi State, a female suspect, Bilikisu Salako, 35, was nabbed with 108kgs of same substance last Saturday in the Ifo area of Ogun State.

A total of 100 blocks of cannabis weighing 55kgs 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, the Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, September 13, sentenced to five years imprisonment a drug dealer, Segun Odeyemi, for trafficking and dealing in 3,842 kilograms of skunk. He was arrested on Saturday, July 1, while conveying 89 jumbo bags of the illicit substance in his truck, around the Eleganza area of Ajah, Lekki. He was subsequently charged in suit number FHC/L/388C/2023, presided over by Justice Akintayo Aluko.

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.

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.

While commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Imo, Kaduna, Ogun, Kogi, FCT and Lagos Commands as well as those of DOGI for intensifying their drug control efforts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed  Marwa (retd) equally applauded the commitment of all the commands across the country to work with other stakeholders to take the WADA sensitisation lectures and advocacy messages to the communities, schools, worship centres, work places and traditional institutions. He charged them not to relent.