By Bukar Bolori
Travellers’ cheques in different foreign currencies with a total value of over N1.1 billion have been intercepted by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi read: “Travellers’ cheques in different foreign currencies with a total value of One Billion, One Hundred and Fifty Seven Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty Nine Naira and Ninety Two Kobo (N1,157, 670,469.92) have been intercepted at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.”
Babafemi revealed that at least a suspect, Oguma Uchenna has been arrested in connection to the attempt to export the cheques, which were neatly concealed inside four bound hard cover books disguised as academic project literatures, to the United Kingdom.
He said the financial instruments suspected to be counterfeits were discovered last Wednesday at NAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport during cargo examination of some consignments meant for exportation to the UK on a cargo flight.
Babafemi disclosed that a breakdown of the cheques showed they have monetary values of $287, 623.31; $1,456,300 and €1,297,800.
He said also at the Lagos Airport, operatives of NDLEA foiled attempt by drug traffickers to smuggle into Nigeria 10.89 kilogrammes of cocaine through a Qatar Airways flight, adding that the illicit drug was hidden in seven children duvets packed in an unaccompanied bag from Brazil.
According to him, raid operations in Kaduna, Ondo and Akwa Ibom states led to the seizure of about 2,000 kilogrammes of tramadol, codeine, cannabis and heroin.
In Ondo state, 401 kilogrammes of cannabis was recovered and two suspects: Julius Dapo, 56 and Emeka Ikebuaku, 32, were arrested at Ipele forest in Owo area on Sunday 24th April.
On same day, a transborder drug trafficker, Chigbo Chinonye, 42, was arrested with amphetamine weighing 2.5 kilogrammes and heroin weighing 0.5 kilogramme during stop and search operation conducted along Oron- Ibaka road on his way to Cameroon. He was said to have concealed the drugs using false bottom packaging.
In Kaduna, a total of 47 cartons of suspected fake tramadol, comprising 2,350,000 tablets, weighing 1222 kilogrammes were seized in Zaria on Monday 25th April while a dealer, Chinedu Asogwa was arrested the following day 26th April along Abuja-Kaduna express road, with 2919 bottles of cough syrup with codeine, measuring 291.9 litres with a gross weight of 396 kilogrammes.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) while commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Kaduna Commands of the agency for the seizures and arrests in the past week, charged them and their compatriots across the country to remain steadfast and vigilant in their areas of responsibility.