By Bukar Bolori
A drug kingpin, who heads a syndicate operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and six other members of his gang have been arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
According to a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman of the agency, Femi Babafemi, the arrested suspects were on the run.
He disclosed that the Lagos airport drug syndicate was behind the smuggling of 1,584,000 tablets of Tramadol seized on Tuesday 15th March by NDLEA operatives in collaboration with Aviation Security (AVSEC) and Customs service personnel at the airport, noting that the seizure includes 17 cartons of 250mg Tramadol branded as “Tamra” weighing 669.70 kilogrammes and five cartons of 225mg Tramadol under the brand name “Royal” with a gross weight of 217.15 kilogrammes.
Babafemi recalled that the psychotropic substance, which was imported into the country from Pakistan was smuggled through the airport tarmac using one of the vehicles of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) and was intercepted at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Personnel Yard with two two suspects: Ofijeh Mowa, a SAHCO driver and Nyam Alex who is a security guard with the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) were initially arrested in connection with the seizure.
He revealed that further investigations by NDLEA operatives however led to the arrest of five other persons involved in the crime including the ringleader, Yunana Fidelis who fled Lagos to Kaduna the moment their lid was blown open. Other members of the syndicate are Adesanwo Temitope; Owoseni Temidayo; Fasoranti Shola and Bamigbade Jonathan.
Babafemi said Yunana Fidelis, who is also a staff of NACHO, had escaped and fled to Kaduna after depositing N19.8 million cash with a BDC operator to be paid later into his bank account.
He said after tracking him for days in Kaduna, on Friday 25th Fidelis relocated to Abuja where he was eventually arrested by NDLEA operatives at 7pm last Sunday while he was trying to collect a million Naira cash from an undercover agent who posed as a BDC operator.
Babafemi said in addition to recovering the cash Fidelis deposited with the BDC operator in Lagos, the agency had also placed a post no debit order on his identified bank accounts.
The NDLEA Spokesman also disclosed that a professional methamphetamine (Mkpuru Mmiri) cook and a lawyer were arrested in Owerri, Imo state and Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state respectively.
According to him the professional methamphetamine (Mkpuru Mmiri) cook, Reuben Bekweri, 34, was arrested in Owerri while trying to distribute a kilogramme of the illicit drug he cooked and packaged in seven nylon sachets in the Irete Area of Imo state capital last Saturday.
He said in Ado Ekiti, narcotic officers on Monday also arrested a 42-year-old lawyer, Mr. Mayowa Oluwanisomo, in Zone 4, Embassy Island, Moferere area of the Ekiti state capital following credible intelligence that he deals in psychotropic substances.
Babafemi said a total of 11,570 tablets of Tramadol weighing 7.3 kilogrammes were recovered from him when his residence was searched. He admitted ownership of the drug exhibits, adding that he graduated from Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti and Abuja campus of the Nigerian Law School in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the officers and men of MMIA, Imo and Ekiti state Commands for sustaining the offensive action against drug cartels in their respective areas of responsibility.