By Bukar Bolori
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have thwarted plans of drug traffickers to smuggle large quantities of cocaine in teabags into the country through Lagos and Abuja international airports.
A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of NDLEA, Femi Babafemi said fresh attempts by Brazil based drug cartels to smuggle substantial quantities of cocaine into the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos by concealing the Class-A illicit substance in teabags have again been thwarted.
He said at least, four traffickers involved in the attempts to import and export illicit drugs through the country in the last week are now in the custody of the anti-narcotics agency.
He disclosed that one of the traffickers is 33-year-old Pascal Ekene Okolo, who was arrested during an inward clearance of Qatar Airways flight from Sao Paulo via Doha at the arrival hall of the Abuja International Airport on Sunday 17th April.
He said Okolo who claimed to be into wine business in Brazil was arrested with a travelling bag containing different medicinal teabags, which were used to conceal 4.1 kilogrammes of cocaine.
He also disclosed that on the same day, a Canada based Nigerian, Anigo Godspower was intercepted at the D-Arrival Hall of the Lagos International Airport during an inward clearance of passengers on Qatar Airways from Sao Paolo via Doha to Lagos, noting that when his luggage was searched, two blocks of cocaine with a total weight of 2.1 kilogrammes were discovered.
He said the 52-year-old Anigo claimed he operated an unregistered Bureau De Change business before delving into the illicit drug trade.
Babafemi said the bid by another cartel to export 950 grammes of heroin concealed in the soles of lady’s footwears through the MMIA cargo shed was equally foiled by anti-narcotics officers who have so far arrested two suspects linked to the crime.
He disclosed that those arrested between 16th and 17th April in connection with attempt to export the drug to Monrovia, Liberia include: Idokoja Chukwurah and Patrick Tochukwu.
He said NDLEA operatives in raids in Kano, Kaduna, Benue and Akwa Ibom state seized no less than 88,734 doses of tramadol, pentazocine, diazepam and swinol. In Kano, Aliyu Usman, 28, was arrested at Railway area of the state capital with 47,000 capsules of tramadol and 2,000 ampules of pentazocine injection on Tuesday 19th April while Saminu Usman, 28, was nabbed with 24,710 tramadol tablets at Gadar Tamburawa area of Kano two days earlier.
He also said in Benue, another dealer, Emeka Eze was arrested at an NDLEA checkpoint at Adikpo, Kwande local government area of the state with 10,000 tramadol capsules and 900 tablets of swinol, while in Kaduna state, the duo of Raphael Daniel and David Musa were arrested at Mando park, Kaduna with 1 kilogramme of cocaine last Thursday.
He added that a week after Muhammad Ibrahim sent 12.1 kilogrammes of cannabis from Lagos to Kaduna, operatives were able to trace and arrest him last Thursday and brought him to Kaduna after his consignment was intercepted. Another dealer, Kamilu Ibrahim was also arrested same day at Kargi village in Kubau local government area, Kaduna State with 10.6 kilogrammes cannabis sativa, while Bashir Ibrahim was arrested last Friday after his four consignments containing cannabis sativa weighing 44.6 kilogrammes were intercepted three days earlier along Abuja-Kaduna express road.
In Akwa Ibom state, operatives arrested two female drug dealers: Eno-Obong Edet, 36, and Hossana Ukpong, 28, with various quantities of rohypnol, diazepam, tramadol and cannabis, while a suspected fake security agent was arrested on Saturday in Abuja while moving 23.8 kilogrammes cannabis from Lagos to Maiduguri, Borno state.
Meanwhile, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) apparent pleased with the development, commended the officers and men of the NAIA, MMIA, Kano, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and FCT Commands of the agency for sustaining the heat on drug cartels.
He, however,charged them and those in other commands across the country to remain vigilant and on the offensive until the last gramme of illicit drugs is taken off the street.