By Emma Njoku and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said its operatives have intercepted no fewer than two million seven hundred and fifty (2,750,000) tablets of tramadol 225mg weighing 1,650 kilograms worth over N1. 375 billion, at the Apapa port in Lagos.
The agency’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr. Femi Babafemi, in a statement, yesterday, said the consignment packed in 55 cartons of tapentadol and carisoprodol types of tramadol was seized during examination of a container number SUDU 7538656 on Saturday, following credible intelligence. This comes on the heels of similar efforts by anti-narcotic officers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, that thwarted bids by drug traffickers to export various psychoactive substances to London, UK and Dubai, UAE, through the Lagos airport, in the past week. At least, five suspects have, so far, been arrested in connection with the attempts.
“On Monday, July 25, a Dubai, UAE bound passenger Ms. Ebhodaghei Gloria Osenemeshen, was intercepted during the outward clearance of travellers on Rwanda Air, via Kigali to Dubai. Discovered in her luggage were sachets of tramadol 225mg concealed inside gari, a cassava product, packed among other foodstuffs.
“She, however, claimed that the bag was given to her by someone who she passed the night in his house before coming to the airport to help deliver it to another person in Dubai. The following day, Tuesday, July 26, a total of 50 blocks of cannabis sativa, with a total weight of 27.1kg concealed inside large quantity of crayfish going to London, UK, as part of a consolidated cargo, were seized at the SAHCO export shed,” Babafemi said.
The statement continued: “Same day, a Dubai bound female passenger, Emebradu Previous Rachael, was arrested with 1.8kg cannabis packed inside bitter leaf in her luggage, while attempting to board Rwanda Air flight to UAE via Kigali. The mother of one, who hails from Oghara in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, said she was into selling men’s clothing before she decided to travel to Dubai, to expand her clothing business. She claimed her ex-boyfriend, who lives in Dubai, requested her to bring the bag, which contains the illicit substance along with foodstuff.”
In the same vein, operatives at the NAHCO import shed of the airport, on Saturday, evacuated cartons of khat leaf with a total weight of 51.50kg. The consignment had earlier come in from Sierra Leone on Royal Air Maroc flight.
In Adamawa state, four notorious drug dealers in Konkol and Belel, two villages at Nigeria – Cameroon border, were arrested for exporting and retailing tramadol and importing diazepam into the country. The suspects include: Kabiru Ahmadu; Eric Emil; Abdulmumini Bapetel and Alphonsus Yusuf.
A total of 59.018kg tramadol, diazepam, exol-5, cannabis sativa and two jerry cans of formalin substance (Suck & Die) were recovered from them.
In Kebbi, no less than 4,010 ampoules of pentazocine injection were seized on Friday, when a commercial vehicle with registration number: Sokoto RBA 220 XA, was intercepted along Yawuri – Kebbi road and two suspects: Muktar Yunusa, 26, and Lukman Aliyu, 30, arrested. Similarly, a raid operation in the Oko-Olowo area of Ilorin, last Tuesday, led to the arrest of Onaolapo Zakariyau, 50, with 79kg cannabis sativa.
Also, in Abuja, no fewer than 90 blocks of cannabis (48.2kg) and 700grams of methamphetamine were intercepted at the Jabi motor park, while, at least, a suspect has been arrested in connection with the drug exhibits. And, in Kano, 51 suspects were arrested in a raid at Sky restaurant in the Nasarawa area of the state on Friday. The suspects were caught with various quantities of cannabis and codeine-based cough syrup.
In his reaction to the arrests and seizures, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd) commended the officers and men of Apapa seaport, MMIA, Adamawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Kano, and FCT Commands for their vigilance and commitment. He urged them and their colleagues across the country not to rest on their oars, but remain resolute in pursuit of the agency’s goal of ridding Nigeria of illicit substances.