By Bukar Bolori
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has said that ongoing investigation of a billionaire drug baron, Chief Afam Ukatu, has led to the discovery of how the suspect imported into Nigeria in a single month, October 2019, two containers containing 1,284 cartons of tramadol with market value of over N22 billion.
The agency stated this in a statement on Tuesday to counter insinuations by some people it referred to as hirelings who alleged that NDLEA has no evidence to pin a crime on Ukatu, who is the Chairman/CEO of Mallinson Group of companies.
The spokesman of the agency in the statement said, after months of surveillance, Ukatu was eventually arrested on board a flight to Abuja at the MM2 Terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday 13th April.
He said Investigations revealed that he has been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of tramadol hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg, all of which are illicit.
He further said Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria.
According to him, in the course of investigating the N3 billion tramadol saga between Ukatu and the Abba Kyari’s IRT team, NDLEA operatives have unearthed more evidences establishing how Ukatu has been importing large quantities of tramadol far above the approved threshold allowed into the country.
He noted that in one instance, Ukatu through his Mallinson Group of Companies imported into the country two-container loads of five different brands of tramadol in October 2019 through the Apapa ports in Lagos.
He said all the evidences so far gathered show that the imported tramadol brands were far above the threshold permitted to be imported into Nigeria, adding that: “No doubt the suspect will soon have his day in court.”