By Bukar Bolori
Over N5 billion worth of pharmaceutical opioids (drugs) have been seized in the last one week by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Edo State.
According to a press statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, the total seizures in the three places in quantity amounted to about 9.5 million tablets of pharmaceutical opioids: Tramadol and Exol 5.
He said of the the figure were 214 cartons of Tramadol 225 under 10 different brand names, which translate to 9,219,400 tablets weighing 6,384.5 kilogrammes with an estimated street value of N4,609,700,000 were transferred on Tuesday 29th March alongside 85 cartons of dried Khat leaves with a total weight of 1,327.35 kilogrammes by the Nigerian Customs to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Command of NDLEA, which is as a symbol of the synergy between the two law enforcement agencies.
He said in Abuja, about 228,740 tablets and capsules of Tramadol and Exol 5 were intercepted last Friday at Abaji area of the FCT, disclosing that the truck conveying the drugs was loaded in Lagos and heading to Kano.
He said though the truck driver escaped into the bush during the search of the vehicle, two of his assistants; Usman Abdulmumini, 23 and Aminu Ahmad, 22, were arrested.
Babafemi said at the Port Harcourt International Airport, PHIA, a Brazilian returnee Nnanna Michael, 39, was arrested during the inward screening of passengers on board Qatar Airline flight QR1433 from Doha to Port Harcourt last Tuesday.
According to him, Nnanna was arrested with 73 sachets weighing 8.15 kilogrammes of cocaine, which is the largest seizure of such at the airport, since it began international flight operations years ago.
He said during preliminary interrogation, Nnanna said he departed Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sunday midnight en route Qatar to Port Harcourt, and claimed an unidentified person in Sao Paulo gave him six bed sheets in which the drug was concealed to deliver to another unidentified person at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
He disclosed that the 73 cocaine sachets were hidden in 4×1 feet factory sewn colourful bed sheets, with five of the bed sheets containing 12 sachets each, while the sixth bed sheet contains 13 sachets.
He added that an immediate follow up operation led to the arrest of 50-year-old Monday Alaisu, who travelled from Lagos to pick the drug from Nnenna. He was arrested at the airport’s carpark where he was waiting to receive Nnenna with the latter’s photograph taken at the Brazilian airport and his international passport’s Data Page in his hand.
He said in Oyo state, 17.6 kilogrammes cannabis was transferred along with a suspect, Ramon Dauda, 40, to the state command of NDLEA by the Oyo/Osun Area Command of Nigerian Customs Service, just as narcotic officers on patrol along Lagos-Ibadan expressway last Thursday intercepted a consignment of 10 kilogrammes cannabis and 12.1 grammes of amphetamine in a commercial bus.
He added that a follow up operation in Ilesa, Osun state led to the arrest of the owner of the drug exhibits, Mrs Remi Aluko, 44.
Babafemi also revealed that three drug joints were raided at Wire road, Benin City and Uromi town in Esan Central local government area of Edo State where 188 pinches of cocaine and heroin were recovered with five suspects arrested.
He said in another raid in Okada town, a patent medicine dealer, Harrison Odion was arrested with 70 bottles of codeine based cough syrup; 9,638 Tramadol capsules; 16,843 tablets of Exol-5; 80 tablets of Diazepam and 62 ampules of Diazepam injection.
He also said operatives in the state destroyed seven clusters of dry season cannabis sativa farms in Okpuje Forest along the banks of River Ose totalling 3.1 hectares.
Babafemi also disclosed that at least, seven drug dealers were arrested in raids in parts of Kano with 80 kilogrammes of codeine and pentazocine injection seized from them. Those picked in Rijiyar Zaki, Brigade, Yan-Kaba, Tudun Wada, Karfi, Ungogo and Nassarawa areas of the state include: Muhammad Adamu; Abba Sani; and Auwalu Muhammad, among others.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the anti-narcotic agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the working relationship between NDLEA and other security agencies in the country. He however charged officers and men of the MMIA, PHIA, FCT, Edo, Oyo and Kano Commands not to rest on their oars.